DATE OF EVENT: Wednesday, Aug. 17, 1927
DATE PUBLISHED: Wednesday, Aug. 17, 1927, in The Kansas City Star
Editor’s note: Kansas City’s Municipal Airport took off with a hero on the runway.
Charles Lindbergh came to dedicate the field only weeks after his historic New York-Paris flight and was greeted by a cheering throng. “There is a possibility in your city for a great airport,” he would tell a downtown gathering. “And you have made a good start on it. The field dedicated today has great possibilities.”
Two years later, planes on the Lindbergh Line, as Transcontinental Air Transport was called, were stopping at Kansas City for a fuel stop. A coast-to-coast trip took 48 hours, with passengers riding planes by day and trains by night.
“Lindy” is with us.
Out of the east his Spirit of St. Louis hove into view of the city’s watching thousands this afternoon, and cutting a straight, pure, droning path toward the heart of the business district, descended from what appeared from a distance might have been at Tenth and Main streets, but which really was the new Kansas City airport, just across the river from the skyscrapers.
Into this valley, this flat field tree-fringed and almost entirely river-circled, “Lindy” came down like the birdman he is. Between the wings of his silver gray bird he drove straight and sure for the white cross at the east end of the flag-fenced runway which was the landing spot.
He came from behind the crowd which swarmed the end of the runway and appeared so abruptly in view from over the Burlington right-of-way and the Hannibal bridge it appeared he had dropped like a plummet straight down to that vantage, and then was proceeding northwesterly to the port.
Staring and shouting, the crowd glued its eyes upon him as he drew near. He flew low first over the field, as if to look over the landing sight, and at the northwest end of the runway swooped suddenly upward and circled back. He came around to charge down upon the runway this time, from the southeast and over the bridge, as planned. He drove over, but was not low enough to land.
So back to circle again, while the crowd roared.
The third circle he dropped still lower at the eastern end, and it looked as if he would make the landing. But just when the rear of his plane was about to touch the runway, he went upward. He had gone too far down the runway. The crowd, believing he would come to rest, broke loose, but stopped again when he went up.
Three more times he tried to “sit down,” as the airmen say. Each time he drew up, failing to get low enough. The runway’s dry surface was limited in length and obviously “Lindy” wasn’t taking any chances in soft ground. He was playing safe and driving like an expert.
Fifth time, and again.
After circling four more times, he finally chose a site clear off the runways, in the north end of the field.
He landed safely, and the crowd rushed for that territory.
The flier circled twice over the city before heading for the airport. He circled over Muehlebach Field, where the waiting thousands shrieked as though trying to make him hear, above the noise of his engine. …
All eyes on Lindy, the hero. Here was the young man who had brought the world to his feet with that startling dash across 3,000 miles of mostly open sea and had landed like a gentleman at Le Bourget, as surely and gracefully as if coming down for lunch after a morning’s recreation in the clouds.
The scene at the new airport, raw and still a fledgling as to finish, but possessing that most prized virtue of location almost in the city’s business center, made a picture for Kansas City to remember. …