Wings Across the Atlantic
On the morning of May 20, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. took off from a muddy airfield in New York and headed for Paris. Fourteen hours later he was still flying. During the fourteen hours, he had had some anxious moments. Sleet had gathered on the wings of the plane and the fog was so thick that he could hardly see the tips of the wings. However, he had encountered equally dangerous flying conditions before. Of course, now that he was over the ocean his parachute was useless. He had only one choice: he had to go on.
Although he had waited a long time to make this trip, he did not feel strange or nervous. He was accustomed to flying alone, and he had flown this route in his imagination many times. The idea of flying across the Atlantic had occurred to him one night when he had been carrying the mail between St. Louis and Chicago. That night, he told himself that a non-stop flight between New York and Paris was possible. He knew that airplanes capable of making the long flight over the ocean could be built. A man of skill and endurance could succeed.
As he was recalling that night, he reduced the altitude of the plane. Close to the surface of the ocean, he found a cushion of warm air. The ice on the wings began to melt; the fog disappeared. For the time being, at least, he was safe. As he flew close to the surface of the water, he could see the waves in the moonlight beneath him. The steady sound of the motor seemed like music in his ears. He had perfect confidence in his plane because he knew that there was not a more dependable plane than his. He thought of it as a partner. The Ryan Aircraft Company had constructed the plane to meet his specifications. He had worked with the chief engineer of the Ryan Aircraft Company, Donald Hall, to produce the airplane as rapidly as possible. Although Hall had worked with the basic design of the Ryan airplane, he had had to make many modifications. The wing span was greater to reduce the wingloading during take-off and increase the range. The tail surfaces were farther back to maintain satisfactory stability and control. The engine was farther forward. A large gas tank was located directly in front of him so that he was unable to see directly forward. All together it was a very special airplane. He had named it "The Spirit of St. Louis," in honour of the St. Louis businessmen whose financial backing had made the trip possible. Besides their money, he had invested all of his own savings, which came to two thousand dollars, in the venture.
Alone in the plane, Lindbergh knew that it would be fatal to fall asleep. Before the flight, he had trained himself to stay awake for long periods of time. Now he watched the instrument panel intently. He began to imagine "what he would do at the end of the trip. He hoped to visit all the countries in Europe. He had always wanted to see them. He especially wanted to go to Sweden because his grandfather, August Lindbergh, had been born there and had talked about the "old country. " August Lindbergh had been a farmer. Through his own efforts, he had risen to a seat in Parliament and become a secretary to the king. He had been a man of pioneering instincts and liberal sympathies. In 1859, he had come to America to seek new opportunities and greater freedom. He, his wife, and his son had measured the trip across the ocean in terms of days, but their grandson was to measure his trip across the ocean in hours.
After arriving in America, August Lindbergh travelled west to the frontier. He built a log cabin in the territory of Minnesota, thirty miles from the nearest town. His son Charles became a lawyer and settled in Little Falls. He married a school teacher there, and their only son, Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. was born in 1902.
Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. , made a reputation for himself as an honest, able lawyer. Like his own father before him, he was asked by his neighbours to represent them in the government. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives when his son was five years old. For ten years, the family divided its time between a home in Minnesota and a home in Washington. As a boy, Lindbergh Jr. never spent more than one year at a time in the same school. Consequently, he had little chance to form permanent friendships, and he learned to enjoy being alone. He preferred life on the farm in Minnesota to life in the nation's capital. The farm was located on a hill beside the Mississippi River, and he learned to love that part of the country.
At the age of ten, he learned to drive an automobile. When he was fourteen, his family took a trip to California and he was the driver and mechanic. When he had finished high school two years later, he took over the management of the farm in Little Falls. The family bought its first tractor. When it arrived, he refused to let anyone help him to assemble it. It was clear that he was more interested in machinery than in farming, and in 1918, he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin to study mechanical engineering. He did not finish college because he had decided to become a flier. After that decision, college seemed to be a waste of time. When he took his first airplane ride, he knew for certain that flying would be his career.
After his first course of instruction in flying was over, he obtained some practical experience. He joined a group of other fliers who travelled around the country and gave demonstrations of their skill. In 1923, he entered the United States Army Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, and he received very thorough training there. Then he took a position as chief pilot for the Robertson Aircraft Company, which carried mail by air between St. Louis and Chicago. He was working for this firm when he made the decision to attempt a solo, non-stop flight to Paris.
At 12 :10 in the afternoon of May 21, Lindbergh caught sight of the coast of Ireland. Now that the flight was almost over, he began to relax a little. Once over land, he knew that he had a good chance of landing safely. Finally, after thirty-four hours in the air without sleep, he arrived at Le Bourget Field, in Paris.
1. Lindbergh Jr. didn't have many friends because he enjoyed being alone.
2. The airplane specially designed to meet the requirements of the flight could fly very swiftly.
3. Lindbergh Jr. never felt nervous during the flight for he had flown this route many times in his dreams.
4. Lindbergh Jr. , his father and his grandfather all once worked in a farm in their lives.
5. Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. , after thirty-four hours' flying, finished successfully the solo, non-stop flight from New York to Paris.
6. August Lindbergh had been a Member of Parliament in Sweden while Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. was elected to the United States House of Representatives.
7. Lindbergh Jr. entered University of Wisconsin in 1918 out of the interest in machinery.
8. One night when he was working, Lindbergh Jr. had an idea of______.
9. A good combination of man and machine made the______ successful.
10. Lindbergh Jr. was most interested in______.
答案：I. N 2. NG 3. N 4. N 5. Y 6. Y 7. Y 8. flying across the Atlantic 9. flight 10. flying