First American Woman Licensed Glider Pilot
Aviation pioneer Anne Morrow Lindbergh, co-pilot, navigator, and radio operator with renowned pioneer aerial explorer Charles A. Lindbergh was the first woman in the United States to be issued a First-class Glider Pilot’s License. Well schooled in the serious science of flying, Anne Lindbergh contributed to the advancement of aviation during grueling and dangerous flights around the globe with her husband. Currently in her 93rd year, Pulitzer Prize winner, Anne Lindbergh is an eminent poet, essayist and recognized author of best-sellers.
In April 1930 Anne and Charles Lindbergh broke a transcontinental speed record between Los Angeles, California to New York, in 14 hours, 45 minutes. Ten days prior to the flight, Anne, in private correspondence, wrote to her mother,. . The navigating (my job) is going to make it tremendously interesting. We will be able to tell by looking at the sun through a sextant and knowing the time, just how far off course we are. It means very little work in the air just looking at the sun, marking the time, and measuring off the position on the map. But it means quite a lot of plotting and working out beforehand.
As co-pilot and navigator with her husband, Anne, in 1931 was the first woman to fly the great circle route from New York to China. From the rear cockpit of their pontoon equipped Lockheed Sirius, Anne recorded weather conditions and transmitted their position to radio stations, received messages and tapped out responses using a Morse Code key. Anne piloted the plane and kept it on course by observing the Aperiodic compass while Charles took sextant observations of the sun and stars.
A humorous anecdote from the 1930s, recalled by Kendall Blackwell, pioneer airplane designer who remembers an inquiry of a Lindbergh friend who asked why Charles had Anne fly with him on these survey flights. Charles Lindbergh replied, “Where else can I get a competent copilot and radio operator who weighs only 120 pounds?”
On November 8, 2001, at the AOPA Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation announced a new facet of its 75th anniversary celebration–Landings for Lindbergh™. Alan Klapmeier, president and CEO of Cirrus Design has signed on as the event’s Honorary Lead Pilot. Pilots across the country and around the world will celebrate Lindbergh’s accomplishments, and all that is good about aviation on May 18, 2002, the Saturday before the 75th anniversary of his non-stop, solo flight across the Atlantic. They’ll fly and land their aircraft at airports everywhere.Reeve Lindbergh, Lindbergh Foundation president and daughter of Charles and Anne Lindbergh said, “Landings for Lindbergh™ offers pilots a chance to honor personally an aviation pioneer and American hero, and all my father accomplished throughout his life. We will also recognize the essential place aviation holds in our modern world, a place he helped so much to establish. I am hoping pilots everywhere will want to participate, and to land their aircraft together on May 18, 2002.