Spinner, Spirit of St. Louis, Charles A. Lindbergh, NY-Paris Flight May 21, 1927

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    Spinner, Spirit of St. Louis, Charles A. Lindbergh, NY-Paris Flight May 21, 1927

    Aluminum. Part of original aircraft, maiden flight.

    1 of 3

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    Spinner, Spirit of St. Louis, Charles A. Lindbergh, NY-Paris Flight May 21, 1927

    Aluminum. Part of original aircraft, maiden flight.

    2 of 3

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    Spinner, Spirit of St. Louis, Charles A. Lindbergh, NY-Paris Flight May 21, 1927

    Aluminum. Part of original aircraft, maiden flight.

    3 of 3

This is the original propeller spinner from Charles Lindbergh's Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis." While Lindbergh was flying the "Spirit" on its maiden flight from San Diego to Long Island on May 12, 1927, a crack developed in the aluminum behind the propeller, forcing him to replace the propeller spinner and nose cone. Technicians at Curtiss Aircraft Company in Garden City, Long Island installed a new handmade propeller spinner just before Lindbergh's historic nonstop flight from New York to Paris on May 20, 1927.

Stanley Vaughan, one of the technicians who assisted Lindbergh, had a feeling that "this young man would accomplish the flight of which many had failed." Vaughan kept the original propeller spinner from the "Spirit" because he knew it would become valuable if Lindbergh succeeded in becoming the first person to fly solo and nonstop from New York to Paris. Vaughan received many offers for the spinner after Lindbergh's flight, but he refused to part with it.

Lindbergh returned to the Curtiss plant nearly two years later. When Vaughan asked him whether he remembered having his propeller spinner replaced there, Lindbergh replied: "I sure do and it was an excellent job. I not only flew the Atlantic but many thousands of miles since and have had no trouble with it." Lindbergh autographed the original spinner and Vaughan kept it for forty-three years before donating it to the Smithsonian in 1970.