Charles Lindbergh House and Museum
1620 Lindbergh Drive S.
Little Falls, MN 56345

Hours

May 26 - Sept 3, 2018:
Thu-Sat 10 am-5 pm
Sun Noon-5 pm

Open Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day, 10 am-5 pm

September 2018:
Sat 10 am-5 pm

Call 320-616-5421 for group tours and school field trips year-round.

Admission

  • $8 adults
  • $6 seniors
  • $6 veterans and active military
  • $6 college students
  • $6 children ages 5-17
  • Free for children age 4 and under and MNHS members

Contact

320-616-5421

Army & Airmail

Charles Lindbergh knew he could not make barnstorming a permanent career. He longed to be able to fly stronger, faster, newer airplanes. Lindbergh stated in his book, The Spirit of St. Louis: “Air Service pilot’s wings were like a silver passport to the realm of light. With them went the right to fly all military airplanes.” With that knowledge he enrolled in the Army’s flight school, which gave him the training he needed to pursue a career in aviation.

Army Flight School

Lt. Charles A. LindberghWhile barnstorming in southern Minnesota, Lindbergh met a graduate of the Army Flying School who told him that cadets flew the most modern and powerful airplanes. Lindbergh enrolled right away. He arrived at Brooks Field, in San Antonio, Texas on March 15, 1924. Lindbergh was joined by 103 other young men. The cadets learned the essentials of aerodynamics, navigation, meteorology and military law. Already a skilled pilot, military training taught Lindbergh precision flying techniques. In his first year, Lindbergh earned a 93.39 average, the second highest in his class.

But the training was tough. Only 32 cadets advanced to the next term held at nearby Kelley Field. The cadets trained in pursuit, attack, observation and bombardment. In one instance, Lindbergh was forced to jump to safety with the aid of a parachute when his plane collided with another while practicing formations. On March 14, 1925, only 19 flying cadets graduated. This time, Lindbergh finished first in his class. 

Flying the Airmail

Crash of a mail plane piloted by Charles Lindbergh.Following graduation Lindbergh went to Lambert Field in St. Louis, Mo., with the hope of finding a job in aviation. Shortly after arriving he accepted a job with the Robertson Aircraft Corporation as chief pilot for the soon-to-be awarded St. Louis-Chicago airmail route.

While waiting for the contract to be awarded, Lindbergh flew at Lambert Field. It was there that he tested a new commercial four-passenger plane, an OXX-6 Plywood Special, when the controls malfunctioned and Lindbergh was forced to jump to safety with his parachute. As a result, he became the first man saved twice by a parachute. During his waiting period, he also joined The Mil-Hi Airways and Flying Circus in Denver, Colo. and earned the reputation of being one of the best stunt fliers in the country and the nick name “Flying Fool.”

In October 1925, Robertson Aircraft Corporation got the St. Louis-Chicago contract. Service was to begin in spring. Lindbergh spent the winter preparing his flight path, while the company readied their five mail planes, Army-salvage De Havilland DH-4 observation planes with 400 h.p. Liberty engines. Knowing that these planes had earned the nickname "flaming coffins," Lindbergh insisted that each pilot be equipped with a new seat-type silk parachute, with no penalty if used.

First US Air Mail service from St. Louis to Chicago, Charles Lindbergh Jr. one of the pilots

On April 15, 1926, Robertson Aircraft inaugurated its airmail route with a formal ceremony before 200 citizens and a crowd of cameras. But the public was slow to adopt this new service, in part because airplane travel was still very dangerous and because of the additional cost for airmail. Robertson Aircraft survived for months with subsidies provided by St. Louis banks who considered airmail an investment in the future of aviation.

The danger of delivering airmail was high. And many routes, like the St. Louis-Chicago route, took pilots through quick changing weather. Twice Lindbergh was forced to jump from his plane, each time being saved by his parachute. Despite the challenges, Lindbergh and his team completed better than 98 percent of their scheduled flights, at a time when one out of every six airmail pilots was killed on the job.