Mon, Aug 18, 2003
Marks Lindbergh Field's 75th Anniversary
It was an anomaly in a
sky normally filled with commercial-type heavy iron. Suddenly,
through the haze that surrounded downtown San Diego (CA), a
sparkling, high-wing monoplane descends toward the runway. An
apparition from the past, it turns heads, as witnesses strain to
see the words "Spirit of St. Louis" written in black letters on the
"You don't see that every day," said Gordon Witter, in an
interview with the San Diego Times-Union. Witter was
flying a plane that accompanied the replica of Charles Lindbergh's
historic 1927 aircraft. The aircraft landed without incident
(albeit with a lot of turned heads) at Lindbergh's namesake
airport, to help celebrate its 75th anniversary.
Some 300 people were on hand to cheer the arrival of the
"Spirit" replica. "Boy, are we thrilled," said Witter, chairman
emeritus of the San Diego Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park, which
owns and displays the plane in its rotunda.
While the original Spirit of St. Louis resides at the
Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington (DC), this 1979
replica was overhauled recently. The short hop from the museum to
Lindbergh Field was one of the first attempts to fly it in 23
The Times-Union reports replica pilot Roger Baker had a
bit of trouble seeing out of the cockpit. Like the original, of
course, it had no forward-looking windows. All Baker had to look
through were two two-foot square windows on either side of the
instrument panel. He had to navigate by watching the landmarks go
by. That's why a chase-plane through San Diego's crowded airspace
probably wasn't such a bad idea.
Later, Baker admitted the replica of the first airplane to fly
nonstop across the Atlantic was indeed a little difficult to fly.
Then again, he said, "I think I had by far the most elegant
transportation to this celebration of anyone today."
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