Courage Boys features stories to inspire and leave you feeling hopeful. Making a difference is not only possible, but something we’re all capable of accomplishing. These are the stories of ordinary people making the decision to be extraordinary with bravery, resilience and principle. This is Courage Boys.
Charles only slept one hour the night before his flight. When he woke up, he put on his lightest underwear and cut the extra padding out of his shoes. He ignored the papers. They all predicted failure. And when you considered the facts, it was a pretty fair prediction. New York to Paris is about 3600 miles, and most of it water. Thirty-three hours of flight, a single engine — and a prop plane at that.
The last two teams that tried this disappeared in the ocean with better planes and more men. Yet Charles got rid of his parachute, got rid of his radio, fuel gauges and lights. With over a ton of gas and no frills, his plane, called the Spirit of St. Louis, was a little more than a flying fuel tank and a teeny cockpit. It had one purpose: Get Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic Ocean before anyone else could do it.
The wheels sloshed through the mud as Lindbergh tried to get his little plane up to speed. His wheels barely cleared the telephone lines. But Charles Lindbergh was airborne.
This didn't feel like the magic of flight that it used to, though. He sat on a hard seat with a stick between his legs and very little elbow room. He flew out of the states and north to Newfoundland where he would make a right turn out into the ocean.
Back in America, Yankee Stadium, at the Sharkey versus Maloney heavyweight championship fight, the announcer came over the loud speaker: I want you to rise to your feet and think about a boy up there tonight who is carrying the hopes of all true-blooded Americans. Tonight, say a little prayer for Charles Lindbergh.
The people bowed their heads as night fell somewhere over the Atlantic. The damp air was bitter cold and windy. Big white icebergs reflecting the moonlight were the only things he could see beneath him.
He was flying over terrain where ships had never even sailed. Then the fog came. Charles climbed and climbed, but he could not get over the fog. He couldn't see a thing. So he stared at his little compass needle, bouncing furiously, and trusted it for a couple of hours.
Finally, he broke the fog. Where, for the first time, in the smooth air, he met his biggest challenge. Charles Lindbergh hadn't slept in 39 hours. His eyes so desperately wanted to close. Charles opened the window, slapped his own face, even held his eyes open with his fingers, but it wasn't working. He became so weary that he wasn't sure if he was alive or dead. And that's when the voices started.
Charles looked over his shoulder, into the fuselage, where only a large gas tank had been. He saw people. They spoke to him. And for hours, he experienced elements of existence that he had never known before. Those "angels" kept him company until daybreak when Charles looked down to see green fields, farmers. He was in Ireland.
Charles flew six more hours to Paris, where he landed to an ocean of people and instant worldwide fame. Charles Lindbergh had proved the critics wrong. If we're all in, completely spent, and have drained ourselves of every available frill and resource, that perhaps is when God steps in.