RHINEBECK, N.Y. – May 21 marks the 89th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s history-making flight across the Atlantic. The flight forever changed the way mankind viewed air travel as a practical means of transportation, and will be celebrated in a big way at The Rhinebeck Aerodrome.
The event will center around the aerodrome’s recently completed “Spirit of St. Louis” replica.
This is an exact copy of Lindbergh’s aircraft, and its public debut flight is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Two of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s grandchildren will be present to witness the flight and will speak at the evening gala.
The Spirit aircraft project was 20 years in the making, with ups and downs in between, according to officials.
Highlights of the day will include flight demonstrations of the aerodrome’s fleet of vintage aircraft, and biplane rides in a 1929 New Standard aircraft will also be available.
There will be guided tours of the museum and docents will show and discuss some of the aerodrome’s current restoration efforts.
Several vehicles from the aerodrome collection that had been out of service for a few years are now back in running order and will be seen in operation all day.
Two talks will be given by Dr. Peter Jakab, Chief Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Jakab designed the exhibit of the Wright Brother’s Wright Flyer at the National Air and Space Museum and wrote the book, “Visions of a Flying Machine: The Wright Brothers and the Process of Invention.”
The theme of the day will be the roaring 1920s, and the Heart Strings Hot Club band will perform live music from the same timeframe from 2:30 to 5 pm. Visitors are encouraged to don 1920s apparel to help recreate the feel of May 21, 1927…the day Lindbergh landed in Paris following his solo transatlantic flight from Roosevelt Field, in New York. Those in period attire will receive a discounted admission.
The Spirit of St. Louis will be accessible to viewers for the better part of the day to photograph, but will be removed from public sight at 2:30 pm to prepare for its grand entrance and a 1927 procession down the runway, set to commence shortly after 5 pm.
The flight will start at 5:30 and immediately after landing, pilot/builder Ken Cassens will take questions from the crowd.
The aircraft will then be moved to the gala location, a large hangar on the far side of the runway. Those with gala tickets will be escorted across the runway to participate in the evening festivities.
New York’s CBS 101.1 radio personality, vintage aviator, and former Aerodrome pilot, Dan Taylor will be the Master of Ceremonies for the gala. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro will discuss the significance of the Aerodrome’s reproduction project and the importance of this aircraft to New York’s Hudson Valley as a functioning example of an American icon at the event.
Charles Lindbergh’s daughter, Reeve, was originally scheduled to speak, but will be unable to attend. In her stead, Kristina Lindbergh and Lars Lindbergh will appear to share thoughts and reflections regarding their grandfather, Charles, and will discuss what the Spirit meant to him.