Raymond Orteig spurred interest among pilots with his contest that offered a $25,000 prize to the first American or French pilot who succeeds in making a non-stop 3,600 mile flight between New York and Paris.
There were at least five pilots planning to make a nonstop transatlantic flight during the spring of 1927.
Charles A. Lindbergh was not considered to be one of the top contenders to complete the historic flight. The top three contenders were: Commander Richard Evelyn Byrd, Lieutenant Noel Davis, and Captain Rene Fonck.
Lindbergh was the second formal entry in the Orteig contest. Lt. Noel Davis made the first attempt.
Twice in 1926, and four times overall, Mr. Lindbergh flew planes that experienced engine failures and he was forced to parachute to safety. This earned Lindbergh the nickname “Lucky”.
Lindbergh piloted a Ryan Monoplane, christened the “Spirit of St. Louis”, for his historic transatlantic flight and flew alone because he chose to use all available space to carry additional fuel.
Lindbergh began flying when he was 20 years old, spent some time as a daredevil performing wing walking and barnstorming stunts, and became an air mail pilot for the St. Louis to Chicago route. He was 25 years old when he made his historic transatlantic flight.
The first successful transatlantic flight occurred in 1919; however, the New York to Paris route was a much longer, and therefore more dangerous, flight to make nonstop.