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Erik Lindbergh retraces grandfather’s flight

Seventy-five years after his grandfather paved the way for aviation advances, his grandson is hoping to do the same in finding new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and breakthroughs in space travel.

On May 1 Erik Lindbergh, grandson of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, will recreate the historic flight made in 1927.

Lindbergh will depart Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York for Paris, France.

“I have dreamed for years about retracing my roots and flying across the Atlantic, but until recently, I was unsure I would be able to make this dream a reality,” Lindbergh said.

Lindbergh, 36, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis—a progressive auto-immune disease.

He is scheduled to depart at 10 a.m. flying solo in the single engine New Spirit of St. Louis. The Lancair Columbia 300 plane is a state-of-the-art airplane that will complete the 18-20 hour flight.

It took his grandfather Charles, a mail pilot, 33.5 hours to complete the same 3,600 mile journey. He took off from Roosevelt Field near New York City on May 20, 1927.

He was greeted by a crowd of more than 100,000 who watched him land in Paris. Now the whole world, through media and Internet coverage, can watch Lindbergh.

“I am making these flights to honor my grandfather’s legacy and to promote the X PRIZE competition, which I believe to be the catalyst for the future of space travel,” said Lindbergh, who serves as a trustee and vice president for the X PRIZE Foundation, established at the St. Louis Science Center.

The X PRIZE Foundation is an organization offering a $10 million prize for the first private team to fly to space in a privately-built spacecraft, return to Earth and fly again within two weeks. It is modeled after the “Orteig Prize,” the $25,000 prize that Charles Lindbergh won for his 1927 transatlantic flight.

“My grandfather was motivated to make his flight by a prize that unquestionably helped to open the future of aviation,” Lindbergh said.

“I am promoting the X PRIZE because I believe it will help open the door to space travel for the rest of us.”

Lindbergh is a commercial pilot who has undergone extensive training for the solo flight.

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