His wake-up device was one of the most reliable things on board.

Q. How did Charles Lindbergh sleep when he flew from New York to Paris, nonstop, aboard his plane for more than 33 hours?

answered by Ron Wagner, USAF pilot in Presidential Wing at Andrews, airline pilot, aero engineer

He did not sleep due to the very high-tech system he developed to keep himself awake.

He had not slept the night before and knew that staying awake on the 33-hour flight was going to be one of his major challenges.

So, he got a heavy nut—the metal kind that goes on a bolt—and tied it to one finger with a string about a foot long. While at cruise altitude, he held the nut loosely in his fingers, palm down. When he dozed off, he’d drop the nut, which made the string tug on his finger and keep him awake.

If it sounds crazy to have bet his life on a string yanking his finger, consider that he was flying a fabric-covered plane with no front window to see where he was going, with a single engine—and remember, that engine was built with 1920s technology—and navigating mostly by a bobbing wet compass.

His wake-up device was one of the most reliable things on board.

Spirit of St Louis (Wikipedia)

source : Quora


I have a little inside info on Lindbergh’s last visit to the Smithsonian, which I think you’ll enjoy reading.

Michael Collins was the command module pilot who orbited the moon alone while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on it. In 1971 he became the director of the National Air & Space Museum in D.C.

He was in charge of the museum during construction of the new building on the mall, as well as the move into that building in 1976.

When I was a pilot at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, Michael Collins flew with my squadron a few times. I was pretty junior at the time and the more senior pilots grabbed those flights, so I never flew with him but I met him when he came in.

He told a moving story of an experience he had with Lindbergh, in 1974, after Lindbergh knew he was dying. He intended to go to Maui and die there, and to be buried there.

Before he left for Hawaii he asked Collins for one last visit to the Spirit of St. Louis, for which he came in shortly before closing one night. They had built a scaffold so he could get into the cockpit. He came in and climbed into the cockpit saying almost nothing. Then he closed the door and sat in there for a long time—I’ve forgotten exactly how long but it was something like an hour. Then he opened the door, thanked Collins briefly and left quietly.

Ron Wagner

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