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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 06:47 GMT 07:47 UK
Lindbergh grandson recreates historic flight
Spirit of St Louis with Charles Lindbergh, Erik's grandfather, standing in front of it
Lindbergh's journey was the first of its kind in 1927
The grandson of American aviator Charles Lindbergh has completed the first leg of a journey replicating his grandfather's famous 1927 solo crossing of the Atlantic.

This flight is all about a celebration of the past and hope for the future

Erik Lindbergh
Erik Lindbergh, a commercial pilot and artist, took off from a Californian airfield on Sunday morning in his "New Spirit of St Louis" airplane in front of a small crowd of well wishers and arrived in St Louis, Missouri ahead of schedule on Sunday evening.

He will next head to Farmingdale, New York, on 20 April, before heading to Paris on 1 May.

The re-creation is part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Charles Lindbergh's solo non-stop cross-Atlantic flight to Paris, the first ever in aviation history.

'Very excited'

"This flight is all about a celebration of the past and hope for the future," Mr Lindbergh said.

Erik Lindbergh in his New Spirit of St Louis
The journey should take around half the time of the original
Erik Lindbergh's plane is far more sophisticated than the wood and canvas contraption his grandfather flew.

A modern Lancair Columbia 300 made of a carbon and glass composite, it also carries a satellite telephone, global positioning system and survival gear, French news agency AFP reported.

The journey will also take about 17 hours, around half the time it took Mr Lindbergh's grandfather, flight director Gregg Maryniak told AFP.

"[My grandfather] might say, 'Why are you doing this crazy thing?', but I'm very excited'", Mr Lindbergh said.

"As described by my grandfather, the beating of his heart was inseparable from the firing of the spark plugs in the engine."

Mr Lindbergh is also attempting the flight to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation and other charities, after rheumatoid arthritis crippled him for years before drugs restored his mobility.

A documentary on the historic flight is to be shown later on next month on American television.

See also:

08 Feb 01 | Americas
Aviator Anne Lindbergh dies
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