Charles Lindbergh's Dirty Little Secret

"My transatlantic flight wouldn't be possible if without Lester Hendershot's Brilliant Mind."  May 21, 1927 Charles Lindbergh


*Fact: The Spirit of St. Louis weighed 2,150 lbs empty and 2,888 lbs fully loaded 

*Fact: The Spirit of St. Louis held 450 gallons of fuel - forward tank (88 gallons), main tank (209 gallons) and three wing tanks (153 gallons) 

Fact: A gallon of fuel weighs 8.35 lbs times 450 gallons equals 3,757.5 lbs

*Fact: The Spirit of St. Louis Powerplant was a Wright Whirlwind J-5C Single blade Standard Steel Propeller with 223 hp

*Fact: The Power/mass was 23 lb/hp

Fact: 23 lbs times 223 hp equals 5,129 lbs of lift (*The stated maximum takeoff weight is 5,135 lbs)

Fact: Fully loaded (2,888 lbs) and gassed up (3,757 lbs) the Spirit of St. Louis would have weighed 6,645.5 lbs minus the 5,129 lbs (23 lbs x 223 hp) that the engine could lift means that the plane is 1,516.5 lbs overweight

Conclusion: The Spirit of St. Louis would not have been able to take off because it would have been 1,516.5 lbs overweight