PILOT STORIES: Charles
Lindbergh got his nickname, Lucky Lindy, not from his successful transatlantic flight, but from his airmail service. Before he tackled the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, Charles Lindbergh had a career as an airmail pilot. Following stints as an army pilot, test pilot and barnstormer, Lindbergh flew the mail as a contract pilot. His nickname was given to him after he was forced to parachute to safety twice as an airmail pilot.
flying the mail on September 16, 1926, Lindbergh was forced
to jump from his airplane during a blinding snow and rain storm
after he had gotten lost in the darkness and his airplane ran
out of fuel. As he drifted down to earth, Lindbergh heard his
airplane start back up again. Apparently as it headed straight
down, enough fuel was pumped back into the engine to start
it up. A quickly unnerved Lindbergh watched as his airplane
seemed to aim straight for him. As Lindbergh wrote up the
incident in his official report:
Soon [my airplane] came into sight,
about a quarter mile away and headed in the general direction
of my parachute. . . . The airplane was making a left spiral
of about a mile diameter, and passed approximately 300 yards
away from my chute, leaving me on the outside of the circle.
I was undecided as to whether the airplane or I was descending
the more rapidly and glided my chute away from the spiral
path of the ship as rapidly as I could. The ship passed
completely out of sight, but reappeared in a few seconds,
its rate of descent being about the same as that of the
parachute. I counted five spirals, each one a little further
away than the last, before reaching the top of the fog bank.