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The 1920's
"Lucky Lindy" Takes Flight, Part 1



"Lucky Lindy" Takes Flight, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.54

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    airmail, barnstorm, cockpit, plotted, preflight, westbound, aviation, infancy, peers, telegram, civilian, warfare, historic, aircraft, transfer, fairs
     content words:    Smithsonian National Air, Space Museum, Atlantic Ocean, World War, Air Mail, Pilot Dean Smith, Charles A., Army Air Service Reserve, After Lindbergh


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"Lucky Lindy" Takes Flight, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Sunlight glances off the simple lines of the single wing plane. Painted on its side are the words "Spirit of St. Louis." The sturdy little plane hangs, frozen in mid-flight, in the airy spaces of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
 
2     The plane is displayed in the "Milestones of Flight" gallery at NASM. Hovering nearby is the Wright 1903 Flyer, the first airplane ever to fly successfully. Why would "Spirit of St. Louis" rate such an honored place in the history of flight? The small silver plane was the first one flown solo, nonstop, across the Atlantic Ocean.
 
3     The historic flight took place in 1927. Aviation, the development and use of aircraft, was barely past its infancy at the time. World War I saw the first practical use of flying machines. Planes were used first for scouting the enemy and then for warfare.
 
4     These military functions didn't transfer well into civilian life. After the war, planes were used mainly for entertainment. Barnstorming became a fairground attraction. Crowds thrilled at the sight of planes rolling and diving in the sky above them. Some barnstorm pilots even had helpers who stood on the wings of the planes as they did their stunts.
 
5     Then the postal service began to experiment with airmail. At first the routes were short. Planes were not capable of long hours of flight. They couldn't fly at night. The mail had to be carried over all terrain in all weather. Pilots shivered through storms that pounded right into the open planes. Trees and hills could suddenly pop up in front of a pilot blinded by a mountain snowstorm.

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