Lindbergh in Shelby
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Shelby Township Historical Committee

Packard President Alvin Macauley and Charles Lindbergh-(The track can be seen in the background.)


Lindy Flies With New Motor

---Drives Car at 100-Mile Clip

New experiences, both in the air and on the ground, have come to Col. Charles A. Lindbergh on his present visit to Detroit, his first since his marriage.

For the first time in his career of flying, he piloted a plane powered by the new Diesel type oil-burning motor. Then, to top off a busy day, he drove a high-powered automobile at a speed of more than 100 miles an hour around a banked, concrete track.

Col. Lindbergh, in company with Maj. Thomas G. Lanphier, was invited by Alvan Macauley, president of the Packard Motor Car Co., to inspect the new Diesel type airplane motor designed by Capt. L. M. Woolson, of the company.


Thursday morning the fliers visited the new factory the company has built for the production of the motors, then went to the company's proving ground near Utica, Mich., for a test flight in a plane powered by the new engine.

Col. Lindbergh was at the controls at the take-off and also when the plane landed. With him on the flight were Maj. Lanphier, Walter E. Lees, company pilot, and Capt. Woolson. The flight lasted between 30 and 45 minutes during which the plane motor was throttled down speeded up and otherwise put through its flying paces.

Company representatives said Col. Lindbergh and Maj. Lanphier are the first persons outside the company to be permitted a close inspection of the new motor.

Following the flight, Co. Lindbergh and Mr. Macauley made a fuel test which demonstrated the slight chance of an explosion or fire in the event a plane, powered with a Diesel motor fueled with fuel oil, crashed.


The colonel and the company head tried to set fire to a pan of the fuel with matches, but were unsuccessful. They then soaked a bit of waste with the oil and placed it in the pan. The waste acted as a wick and the oil burned. Col. Lindbergh then threw oil on the flame and the flame was smothered.

Col. Lindbergh then demonstrated he is as much at home behind the wheel of an automobile as he is at the controls of a plane. Driving a special speedster, with Charles Vincent, proving ground superintendent, as his companion, Col. Lindbergh made six laps around the 2 1/2 mile concrete track at the proving ground.

At the conclusion of the drive he was told he had been clocked at 112 miles per hour on the straightaway and 106 miles an hour for the lap.


This page courtesy of Ralph & Jo Lees Cooper-Excerpts from the book "Pioneer Pilot" edited by Jo Lees Cooper and their website by Ralph Cooper.

Pioneer Pilot-Walter E. Lees


While Captain Woolson and I were testing the Packard Diesel Engine installed in the Stinson cabin plane, the great Lindbergh came out to the field with several officials of the Packard Co. including Captain Woolson, a Major Lanphier, and others. I thought of course that Lindbergh was going up for a ride, and as I had been the only one to fly the diesel up to that time, it was only natural to think so.
I warmed up the engine and motioned to Capt. Woolson that everything was set. I was sitting in the left hand seat. Lindbergh came in first, gave me a very superior glance, then glanced at the controls in the co-pilot's seat to the right and said, "I want to sit on the left side." What could I say? I switched to the right side, with Capt. Woolson and Major Lanphier in back.
Lindbergh didn't ask me a thing about the characteristics of the engine, or how to handle the throttle, which was quite different from the conventional engine. He taxied to the end of the field, opened the throttle, took off and flew for about 15 minutes. He then landed, taxied up to the hangar, got out, and never said a word to me.
Later, when we had the Waco open cockpit plane with a diesel engine, Lindbergh came out again, also with a lot of officials. He didn't even say hello to me or look at me, but climbed into the Waco plane, took it up, stunted it quite a bit, landed and went away. Never a look at me. So, what do I think of him, well, you guess. I will give him credit for being a very fine pilot, but that is all I can say.