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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Charles Lindbergh's Ticker Tape Parade

On June 13, 1927, New York honored aviator Charles Lindbergh with a tremendous ticker tape parade on Lower Broadway.

As we've written in an earlier post, the Orteig Prize was sponsored by hotelier Raymond Orteig who owned the Lafayette and Brevoort Hotels in Manhattan. Orteig, hoping to boost Franco-American relations, first offered the prize to complete a transatlantic flight in 1919. When no one had made an attempt in five years, Orteig extended the competition and by 1926 it had begun drawing serious competitors. However, the hazards of aviation meant that by the time Lindbergh began his historic flight, six of his fellow competitors had died.

Lindbergh's flight in the Spirit of St. Louis began on May 20 at 7:52 a.m. with his ground crew pushing the heavy plane down the muddy runway. The plane carried 450 gallons of fuel but Lindbergh had removed as much as possible from the plane, including his sextant--meaning that Lindbergh would have to fly by the stars (if they were visible) or dead reckoning. Lindbergh dodged bad weather across the Atlantic (sometimes flying as low as twelve feet above the waves) and reached Le Bourget at 10:22 p.m. on May 21st where he was mobbed by a crowd of eager well-wishers.

On June 11, Lindbergh was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross (the first ever); on June 13, New York honored him with the parade and a key to the city; on June 16, Orville Wright presented the aviator with the Orteig Prize at the Brevoort Hotel.

Above, the newsreel cameras captured Lindbergh's flight and the hero's welcome upon his return. The ticker tape parade starts at about the three-minute mark.

(And speaking of ticker tape -- if you're in the financial services industry and want to impress your colleagues, you can connect your computer into a perfect replica of a universal stock ticker. And it will only set you back $29,995. Then you'll have ticker tape for the next parade!)

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Read more about ticker tape parades in

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