National Geographic : 1934 Sep
FLYING AROUND THE NORTH ATLANTIC BY ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH « OOK OFF FLUSHING BAY 03:37 -JULY 9th 1933." It was a hot afternoon, the kind on which one looks at the sky from time to time for ripening thunder storms. My husband was already at the airport making the last tests before our departure. When I arrived at three o'clock the red winged plane stood on a cradle at the head of the ramp leading down into the water. It was surrounded by a circle of photog raphers' tripods, cars, movie trucks, and a small crowd of onlookers. My husband, standing in the cockpit, signaled above the crowd that everything was ready. The emergency equipment and our two blanket rolls of clothing had already been stowed away in the baggage compartment. I handed up my coat and a folder of radio papers, pads, and pencils. I jumped on the cradle, up onto the pontoon and then onto the wing. Here I always had to stop and turn around. It took three more steps to get up into my cockpit-left, right, left, over the steel steps which slid out of the fuselage. RADIO, MAPS, AND A SHELF Once in my cockpit, everything appeared much as it had on our trip to the Orient. I settled down in my seat and looked around. There were, of course, the dual controls which had been in the ship since it was first built; the stick between my knees, the rudders at my feet, and the throttle and stabilizer control at my left hand. To the right and a little back of my husband's seat, where we could both see it, was an aperiodic compass. This completed the fly ing equipment. But on this trip I expected to do much more radio work than flying. The trans mitter key was on the right side of the cabin, in easy reach of my right hand. Below it on the floor was the box of transmitting coils which were plugged into the set to change the frequency. Leaning forward a little, I could reach the receiving set, about halfway between my husband's seat and mine. The top of its case formed a con venient shelf on which to pass notes and sandwiches up to the front cockpit. On the other side, at my left shoulder, was the aluminum map case in which we kept almost everything: maps, pads, pencils, an extra pair of earphones, gloves, helmets, a sweater, cotton wool, rags, twine, and our sandwich lunch. (Nothing but sandwiches would fit. I once regretted putting in a pear.) In front of the map case, facing me, was the transmitter; below it, the fair-lead and antenna reel. On this same side, behind my seat on the floor, the dynamotor was installed. Be hind and to the right of my head was a condenser for the loop antenna. The loop antenna was wound around the inside of the fuselage behind my seat. There was also a "B" battery box on the floor under the receiver. All this equipment was the same as that used on the Orient trip. You would not think there was room for anything else. But there was. For this trip the Gatty drift and ground-speed indicator was in stalled on the right-hand side, somehow deftly avoiding coil-box and transmitter key, which were both in the same general vicinity. There was one other thing. Instead of a parachute to sit on, we had, this time, air cushions. We were not doing night flying and the parachutes, we decided, would be of little value over the ocean or over the Greenland ice cap, where it would be impossible to live without having the emergency equipment from the plane. We also had life preservers which we could inflate for use when taking off or working on the plane in deep water. After a glance around the cockpit, I tied on my life preserver and blew it up. Next, I fastened my helmet and the safety belt. Then I looked out. "UP ON THE STEP" The ship was being pushed down the ramp, mechanics on each side guiding it. The movie-tone trucks behind us were taking their last shots. "Hey! Look this way!"-"Give us a smile!" - "Wontcha wave at us?" Shouts on all sides of us. We were watching the cradle, below us, ap proach the water. One more push. "This one will make it," I heard a me chanic say, and we slipped into the water. The engine, which my husband had idled as we went down the ramp, quickened to a roar as though feeling its power.