The Lindberghs' 1933 Survey Flight

In 1931 and 1933, Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh embarked on two lengthy trips over vast expanses of water and uncharted, unpopulated territory, exploring possible overseas airline routes during the pioneering days of international air travel. The remote flights also offered some relief from the endless public scrutiny that had followed Charles Lindbergh since 1927.

The 1933 flight arose from international interest in developing commercial air routes. Pan American Airways and four other airlines undertook a study of possible Atlantic routes. As Pan American’s technical advisor, Charles Lindbergh was sent to survey a route from Newfoundland to Europe.

At Angmagssalik, Greenland, an Eskimo boy sitting on the wing is painting the name Tingmissartoq on the Lindberghs' Sirius.

The Route
The Lindberghs flew from New York to Newfoundland, then to Europe via Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland. After visiting several European cities as far east as Moscow, they flew down the coast of Africa and across the Atlantic to South America. They flew down the Amazon and then back north to New York. The trip covered 30,000 miles, four continents, and 21 countries.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
For the 1931 and 1933 flights, Anne learned radio procedures, Morse code, and celestial navigation. When asked about the potential dangers of the flights for his wife, Charles replied, “But you must remember, she is crew.”

Try saying the name of the Lindberghs’ plane: ting-miss-SAR-tock. It originally meant “one who flies like a big bird.” But Greenland’s language changed slightly in 1973. Today in Greenlandic, an airplane is called “timmisartoq”—so if you’re trying to catch a plane in Greenland, say tim-mi-SAR-torck.

Equipment and Supplies for the Tingmissartoq
The Lindberghs were meticulous in their preparations for flights over five continents. While fuel and oil were stationed and lodging and meals provided at their planned stops (or by their support ship Jelling on the second flight), they slept in the aircraft and ate canned rations when necessary.

“We must be prepared for a forced landing in the North, where we would need warm bedding and clothes; and in the South, where we ought to have an insect-proof tent; and on the ocean, where we would need, in addition to food, plenty of fresh water. And we must not exceed our limited weight budget. Every object to be taken had to be weighed mentally as well as physically.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient

Sometimes the Lindberghs spent the night on the Tingmissartoq.

“Our equipment, neatly packed on the floor in layers according to degrees of softness, made a comfortable bed... First the oars; then, the tool-kit and spare parts of the engine, the cans of food, the bulky canvas bags of emergency equipment, the rubber boat, the tent roll, extra coils of rope; next, our parachute packs; then our blanket rolls of clothing; our two flying suits for a top mattress; and lastly the sleeping bag.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient