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On May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh accelerated the Spirit of St. Louis over the dirt runway at Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York and took to the air. A crowd of about 500 onlookers watched Lindbergh just clear the telephone wires at the end of the strip and disappear into the early morning light. That the flight got underway at all was something of an unlikely success story. In 1919, New York hotelier Raymond Orteig had offered a $25,000 reward for the first aviator to fly non-stop between New York and Paris. Over the years, multiple teams had tried, many spending far more than the value of the prize money in the attempt. By 1927, six men had died, three had been seriously injured and
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