Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lindbergh Inspiration

Balancing nature and technology

Neil Armstrong and other influential members of the Lindbergh Foundation. 
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew The Spirit of St Louis from New York to Paris non-stop, defining exploration for the 20th century. Following Lindbergh's death, his family and some of the greatest explorers of all time formed the Lindbergh Foundation to carry on the spirit of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh by providing grants to promote projects that fostered new and environmentally friendly technology. Over the past 35 years, the foundation has provided seed money to numerous projects that balance nature and technology. The Lindbergh Foundation is also responsible for organizations such as the Aviation Green Alliance, the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP) and the Electric Aircraft Development Alliance (EADA).

Apollo Astronauts
This spring, the Lindbergh Foundation celebrated the 85th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's landmark flight across the Atlantic and the 35th anniversary of the Lindbergh Foundation. Among the guests at New York City's Explorers Club were Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, and founding board member of the Lindbergh Foundation Gene Cernan, last man on the moon, and Jim Lovell, first man to orbit the moon, also a founding board member. Also attending were Reeve Lindbergh, the daughter of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and her nephew Erik Lindbergh. The evening was a unique insight into the history of the Lindbergh foundation from those who have been involved since the beginning.
If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. —Charles Lindbergh
Reeve Lindbergh recounted how the foundation was formed 35 years earlier in a room just a few floors above where she was speaking by a board composed of herself, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and numerous other well-known individuals of the 20th century. The board agreed to offer $10,580 in grants to projects that promoted conservation through technology. The amount of $10,580 was the cost of the Spirit of St. Louis.

Reeve Lindbergh tells of her father's passion for balancing technology and the environment.
Gene Cernan was the recipient of the 2000 Lindbergh trophy and spoke of how Charles Lindbergh inspired him as a child to pursue his dreams. "The technology behind the Spirit of St. Louis and Apollo has long been obsolete, but the spirit of Lindbergh, just like the spirit of Apollo, is what has a lasting influence on all of us that have an opportunity to walk in his footsteps," said Cernan. To put this in context, Lindbergh's steps that Cernan followed led him to leave the last footprints on the moon.

Jim Lovell, Commander on Apollo VIII and XIII, and founding board member, stated that the most memorable lunch of his life was with Charles Lindbergh the day before the Apollo VIII launch, the first to enter lunar orbit. "He was the old pro. He'd been there and done that. We were the rookies. We hadn't been there and we hadn't done that," said Lovell.

Neil Armstrong, who really needs no introduction, spoke of the formation of the Lindbergh Foundation. Recounting the alliances formed between some of the most influential people of the time, Armstrong spoke of the challenges and struggles the foundation faced in its infancy, and how numerous influential people worked diligently to make the Lindbergh Foundation a reality. "In spite of its challenging infancy, the foundation has grown and enjoyed substantial success in reaching its goal in its 35-year history, and I think the next 35 will be even better," said Armstrong.


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