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Why did Lindenberg in the spirit of St Louis go down in history for first transatlant

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  • 19-09-2019 3:21pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 548 ✭✭✭


    Hi ,

    Im curious about this . If you google first transatlantic flight or ask most people they will tell you it was Lindenbergs flight from NY to Paris but when you dig a little deeper youll see that years earlier Alcock and Brown made a transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Connemara and in a much dodgier aircraft.

    Is it because the points of origin and the destination werent as sexy as NY and Paris ?

    Why are Alcock and Brown footnotes in history while Lindenberg and the spirit of st Louis is the name most associate with crossing the atlantic first ?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,862 ✭✭✭un5byh7sqpd2x0


    Hi ,

    Im curious about this . If you google first transatlantic flight or ask most people they will tell you it was Lindenbergs flight from NY to Paris but when you dig a little deeper youll see that years earlier Alcock and Brown made a transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Connemara and in a much dodgier aircraft.

    Is it because the points of origin and the destination werent as sexy as NY and Paris ?

    Why are Alcock and Brown footnotes in history while Lindenberg and the spirit of st Louis is the name most associate with crossing the atlantic first ?

    Alcock and Brown were the first non stop transatlantic flight.
    Lindberg was the first solo non stop transatlantic flight.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,887 ✭✭✭✭Riskymove


    Why are Alcock and Brown footnotes in history while Lindenberg and the spirit of st Louis is the name most associate with crossing the atlantic first ?

    Because Lindberg was a renowned American adventurer and celebrity and is referenced very often in American culture/history/tv and film


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭FunLover18


    Alcock and Brown also crashed, I don't think Connemara was their intended destination. If you're really interested in the first transatlantic flight I would highly recommend Bill Bryson's One Sumer which covers a number of events and their lead-ups that occured that year, including Lindbergh's flight. It's a great read.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭Salary Negotiator


    FunLover18 wrote: »
    Alcock and Brown also crashed, I don't think Connemara was their intended destination. If you're really interested in the first transatlantic flight I would highly recommend Bill Bryson's One Sumer which covers a number of events and their lead-ups that occured that year, including Lindbergh's flight. It's a great read.

    It was less a crash and more a poor landing, they tried to land on what looked like a field but was actually a bog so the plane pitched forward.

    They said that they could have flown on to London except for that and the poor weather.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 722 ✭✭✭WildWater


    FunLover18 wrote: »
    Alcock and Brown also crashed, I don't think Connemara was their intended destination. If you're really interested in the first transatlantic flight I would highly recommend Bill Bryson's One Sumer which covers a number of events and their lead-ups that occured that year, including Lindbergh's flight. It's a great read.

    I second that. In fact, I think I’ll read it again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 34,278 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Lindbergh was a massive self-publicist, and of course he landed in Paris to awating crowds, journalists, photographers and cinematographers

    If A&B hadn't have happened to land next to the Marconi station, it would have taken days for the news to get out.

    There are a few interesting artefacts at the Station House museum in Clifden.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭mobileforest


    Hi ,

    Im curious about this . If you google first transatlantic flight or ask most people they will tell you it was Lindenbergs flight from NY to Paris but when you dig a little deeper youll see that years earlier Alcock and Brown made a transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Connemara and in a much dodgier aircraft.

    Is it because the points of origin and the destination werent as sexy as NY and Paris ?

    Why are Alcock and Brown footnotes in history while Lindenberg and the spirit of st Louis is the name most associate with crossing the atlantic first ?

    Lindenburg had two things going for him. He had better PR and he was an American. Americans tend to favour their own "firsts". As for the PR work, flight is full of similar stories. Who invented the airplane? Most will say "the wright brothers" yet their glider with its flexing wings bears little resemblance to what we call airplanes and it owes from the innovations of other pioneers like Glenn Hammond Curtiss. Also, if we stick to the wrights' invention as the first 'powered aircraft' then there are also other lesser known inventions such as those made by Samuel Pierpont Langley and others who predated them. The wrights best talent was perhaps marketing and suing others for patent infringement. I guess future generation will probably equally assume Jobs and Apple invented much of the innovations they poached from Xerox and other companies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,574 ✭✭✭✭banie01


    Alcock & Brown flew in a 2 engined Vimy.
    That gave advantages in range, navigation and crew relief that Lindbergh didn't have.
    Lindbergh flew a single engined plane solo, a much different proposition.

    Alcock & Brown flew a much "shorter" route albeit just as dangerous and unlike Lindbergh, they crashed.
    Whilst the argument can be made that any landing one walks away from is a good one!
    Having an airframe that can be re-used is a far better measure of "success".

    Alcock & Brown were and are the 1st to cross the Atlantic non-stop by air.
    Lindbergh was the 1st to do it solo, and single engined.

    Both very different records and both valid.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭mobileforest


    banie01 wrote: »
    Alcock & Brown flew in a 2 engined Vimy.
    That gave advantages in range, navigation and crew relief that Lindbergh didn't have.
    Lindbergh flew a single engined plane solo, a much different proposition.

    Alcock & Brown flew a much "shorter" route albeit just as dangerous and unlike Lindbergh, they crashed.
    Whilst the argument can be made that any landing one walks away from is a good one!
    Having an airframe that can be re-used is a far better measure of "success".

    Alcock & Brown were and are the 1st to cross the Atlantic non-stop by air.
    Lindbergh was the 1st to do it solo, and single engined.

    Both very different records and both valid.

    Not to detract from Lindbergh's achievement but the Alcock and Brown story alway sounds more amazing to me. The Spirit of St. Louis seemed to me a lot more advanced that the Vimy Bomber Alcock and Brown flew in. Both great stories though.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 17,661 Mod ✭✭✭✭Henry Ford III


    I was in Hopewell N.J. in Sept. Visited Lindbergh's house. Discovered a lot more about the abduction and murder of his son.

    Nice bit of the world.


  • Registered Users Posts: 34,278 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    banie01 wrote: »
    Alcock & Brown flew in a 2 engined Vimy.
    That gave advantages in range, navigation and crew relief that Lindbergh didn't have.

    Brown was a navigator not a pilot, and afaik the Vimy only had single controls and Alcock was at the controls the whole time.
    It had two engines, but needed both to maintain height, and to this day engine failure is statistically more likely on a twin than a single.
    The technology available to them was significantly less advanced.
    No-one had ever flown across the Atlantic before and survived, that wasn't the case when Lindbergh flew.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭mobileforest


    Brown was a navigator not a pilot, and afaik the Vimy only had single controls and Alcock was at the controls the whole time.
    It had two engines, but needed both to maintain height, and to this day engine failure is statistically more likely on a twin than a single.
    The technology available to them was significantly less advanced.
    No-one had ever flown across the Atlantic before and survived, that wasn't the case when Lindbergh flew.

    I grew up near where they took off from (there's a plaque). Ive heard they were so weighed down with fuel that they almost didn't clear the trees after takeoff.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,574 ✭✭✭✭banie01


    Brown was a navigator not a pilot, and afaik the Vimy only had single controls and Alcock was at the controls the whole time.
    It had two engines, but needed both to maintain height, and to this day engine failure is statistically more likely on a twin than a single.
    The technology available to them was significantly less advanced.
    No-one had ever flown across the Atlantic before and survived, that wasn't the case when Lindbergh flew.

    By crew relief I really should have clarified that the "simple" act of dead reckoning navigation is quite an involved and skilled process.

    That Alcock had that workload offloaded to Brown made the whole flight a lot less taxing IMO than Lindbergh's.

    The flight by Alcock & Brown really stretched the absolute limit of what was possible with the Vimy airframe.
    The Vimy running in single engine mode, gave it a controlled descent ability at best rather than any real ability to maintain altitude.
    I didn't mean to imply that the 2 engined configuration gave the Vimy anything akin to ETOPS ;)

    If memory serves the Felixstowe flying boats were probably the only aircraft of that era that could cruise With a single engine for any considerable time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 34,278 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Gotcha on the navigation thing.

    There's DC3s still flying commercially today in certain parts of the world which are said to be marginal at best with an engine out if at all heavy.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Registered Users Posts: 111 ✭✭Astral Nav


    Interestingly a twin is not necessarily the best long distance record setting option (in that era). A single, provided it has sufficient power at take off, has the potential to carry a greater mass of fuel as it would have less structure given over to having two engines, potentially less drag too.
    As previously posted the Blemy needed both engines to stay airborne so they weren't really for redundancy.
    Two great achievements, but I have to have just a bit more regard for Alcock and Brown. They had much less technology advantages the RL attempt. As posted earlier, Bill Bryson's book '1927' gives some great insights into Lindberg's character which was not quite the all American hero we had assumed. His later soft spot for Nazism is something that has to be remembered too. Roosevelt turned down his offer to serve in 1941.
    Great to see that the Clifden area is now being recognized as the site of significant aviation history.


  • Registered Users Posts: 548 ✭✭✭barrymanilow


    banie01 wrote: »

    That Alcock had that workload offloaded to Brown made the whole flight a lot less taxing IMO than Lindbergh's.


    You still have to factor against that the disadvantage of having the extra weight of another man and all that comes with that.


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