Lindbergh’s goggles on display at San Diego museum

The goggles worn by Charles Lindbergh during his historic flight across the Atlantic in 1927 are now on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in honor of the flight’s 85th anniversary.

The goggles are a part of the museum’s current special exhibition, “How Things Fly,” a fun, hands-on exhibit exploring the forces of flight through four interactive zones.

In addition to the goggles, other rare artifacts have also been added to the exhibit, including Lindbergh’s Medal of Honor, a piece of fabric from the original Wright Flyer, and the Red Baron’s medals.

The goggles were given to the manager of the Le Bourget aerodrome in Paris, France, on May 21, 1927, by Charles Lindbergh in appreciation for concealing him from the huge crowd who came to the landing strip to see “Lucky Lindy’s” airplane land. The goggles were in the manager’s possession until 1979, when, through a lot of investigating, several aviation enthusiasts from San Diego, including members of the Board of Trustees of the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, went to Paris, bought the artifact from the manager of Le Bourget airport, and then donated them to the International Aviation Hall of Fame, which integrated with the museum in 1980.

Charles Lindbergh became interested in flying while a mechanical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin, leaving the school in 1922 to devote his life to aviation. Lindbergh joined the Army Air Service Flying School in 1925, after a year of barnstorming, and received his pilot’s wings. In 1926 he became an air mail pilot. Around this time Lindbergh heard of a $25,000 prize offered for the first non-stop New York to Paris flight. Intrigued by the challenge Lindbergh selected Ryan Aircraft in San Diego to build a custom aircraft for the flight, the Spirit of St. Louis. Ryan Aeronautical built the Spirit in 77 days and on May 20, 1927 Lindbergh took off from Long Island and landed in Paris on May 21. After this flight Lindbergh became a household name.

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  1. Willis Allen Jr says

    Correction to Lindbergh goggle acquisition by San Diego Aerospace Museum….
    The son of the manager of Le Bourget Airport in Paris contacted Col Ed Carey, then executive director
    Of the a international aerospace hall of fame.

    Ed needed a sponsor for the purchase of 3500 dollars. I was on the Hall of Fame Board and also on the board at
    La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, so I offered to seek the donation. The La Valencia Board consisted of the majority owner At the time,
    Dr Gifford Ewing, a pilot and. Scientist, owner of a Grumman Wiegon with Ranger engines, James R. Ridgway, formerly the youngest Preesident of Ivestors Diversified Services in Minneapolis , Richard P Irwin, Hotel Manager, and my father, Willis M Allen, also a pilot.

    the board voted unanimously to acquire the goggles.

    When they arrived at the Hall of Fame, Col Carey gave them to me to take to a hotel Board meeting. After the meeting I took them
    Flying in my Ryan PT-22 N60178 out of Montgomery Field. I flew out over La Jolla, over La Valemcia Hotel, down the Coast and over
    Crystal Pier Hotel in Pacific Beach then straight back to the airport then directly to the Hall of Fame

    They have been on display on and off ever since.

    Willis Allen
    Past President

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