The Spirit of St. Louis (formally the Ryan NYP, registration: N-X-211) is the custom-built, single-engine, single-seat, high-wing monoplane that was flown by Charles Lindbergh on May 20–21, 1927, on the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France, for which Lindbergh won the $25,000 Orteig Prize.
Lindbergh took off in the Spirit from Garden City, New York, and landed 33 hours, 30 minutes later in Paris, France, a distance of approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 km). One of the best-known aircraft in the world, the Spirit was built by Ryan Airlines in San Diego, California, The Spirit is on permanent display in the main entryway's Milestones of Flight gallery at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Lindbergh sat in a cramped cockpit that was 94 cm wide, 81 cm long, and 130 cm high (36 in × 32 in × 51 in). The cockpit was so small, that Lindbergh could not stretch his legs. The Spirit of St. Louis was powered by a 223 hp (166 kW), air-cooled, nine-cylinder Wright J-5C Whirlwind radial engine. The engine was rated for a maximum operating time of 9,000 hours (more than one year if operated continuously) and had a special mechanism that could keep it clean for the entire New York-to-Paris flight. It was also, for its day, very fuel-efficient, enabling longer flights carrying less fuel weight for given distances. Another key feature of the Whirlwind radial engine was that it was rated to self-lubricate the engine's valves for 40 hours continuously. Lubricating, or "greasing," the moving external engine parts was a necessity most aeronautical engines of the day required, to be done manually by the pilot or ground crew prior to every flight and would have been otherwise required somehow to be done during the long flight.
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