The 1920's
"Lucky Lindy" Takes the Prize, Part 3

"Lucky Lindy" Takes the Prize, Part 3
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.25

     challenging words:    fledgling, mire, openmouthed, preflight, rechecked, throttle, ticker, White-tipped, propeller, aviation, aloft, non-stop, aircraft, transcontinental, airfield, sliver
     content words:    San Diego, New York, New York-to-Paris, New England, Nova Scotia, North Atlantic, Dingle Bay, Le Bourget, French Legion, Flying Fool

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"Lucky Lindy" Takes the Prize, Part 3
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     On May 10, 1927, the "Spirit of St. Louis" made a final circle over her home city of San Diego. Then the little silver plane vanished into the east. When they landed in New York, Lindbergh and the "Spirit" had set a new record for the fastest transcontinental flight. Lindbergh's sights, however, were set on an even higher goal. He aimed for a place in history. Beyond that, he sought to advance the fledgling field of aviation. He was determined to be the first pilot to fly solo, non-stop, across the great Atlantic.
2     Rain brought eight frustrating days of delay. Lindbergh checked and rechecked his plane. He watched other New York-to-Paris hopefuls make their preparations. On the night of May 19th, the weather cleared. Lindbergh spent the evening preparing for the flight. As he lay in bed that night, details of the upcoming flight ran over and over in his mind. At 3:00 a.m. he rose and went to the airfield. He went through his preflight routine yet again.
3     At last, daylight came. The fuel tanks of the little sliver plane were filled with 451 gallons of precious fuel. Everything was ready. There was one troubling note. The rain of the past few days had turned the dirt runway into clingy muck. Could the little plane lift its heavy load of fuel from the mire?
4     Lindbergh pondered. What should he do? It was now or never, he decided. He threw a packet of five sandwiches into the plane along with a quart of water. They were the sum total of his provisions for the trip. "If I get to Paris, I won't need any more," he explained to a journalist. "And if I don't get to Paris, I won't need any more, either." A few minutes before 8:00 a.m., he climbed into his plane and strapped himself in. He eased the throttle forward. The plane began to roll.
5     The engine roared and the sturdy silver aircraft picked up speed. The crowd held its breath. "Spirit" began to lift and then bounced back down. Power lines at the end of the field loomed closer and closer. The plane's wheels churned through the mud. Lindbergh pushed for more speed. At last the plane rose into the air. Clumps of mud fell from the landing gear as the plane cleared the power lines with little to spare.

Paragraphs 6 to 12:
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