Charles Lindbergh in Zagreb

Total Croatia News


Did you know that the famous pilot visited Zagreb in 1937? All newspapers published very detailed reports about this big event.

On Sunday, April 4, 1937, Borongaj Aerodrome (predecessor of Airport Franjo Tudjman) hosted a famous American, Colonel Charles Lindbergh, one of the best known pilots in the history of aviation, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris. The news of Lindbergh’s arrival in Zagreb had been received the previous night. It was announced that the colonel, on his way back from Egypt to London, would take off from Athens in the morning, fly over Skopje and land in Zagreb in the afternoon, and then continue his flight on to Vienna.
Novosti journalists reported that Lindbergh’s large sports aircraft with red wings and a blue fuselage was visible on the horizon at 3.23. The plane made a steep descent, circled twice above the aerodrome and landed smoothly.
More than one hundred citizens of Zagreb gathered at Borongaj to greet the famous pilot and his wife.


The Lindberghs stayed at the Esplanade Hotel and left Zagreb on Tuesday. On Monday, they went sightseeing to Ban Jelačić square, where items of Croatian folk art were on sale. Anne Lindbergh was impressed with the items of folk art on sale and purchased several of them, one from almost each seller.
After lunch at the Esplanade, the guests expressed their wish to meet the sculptor Ivan Meštrović, about whom Mrs Lindbergh had heard many words of praise in the USA. Their hosts were unable to fulfill l their wish because the artist’s studio in Ilica 12 was closed, as the sculptor had already been living in Split for some time. Nevertheless, the Lindberghs spent more than 30 minutes at the Gallery where Meštrović’s works were exhibited.

Charles 3
Although Charles Lindbergh and his wife visited Zagreb as tourists, some papers speculated that Mr Lindbergh was in Zagreb to discuss the construction of a large airport to serve as an intermediate stop for flights between London and destinations in India. As no records have been found of any talks with the authorities who could decide on the issue, it is highly likely that no such talks were actually held.
On April 6, 1937, the Lindberghs left Zagreb. They left for Vienna from Borongaj Aerodrome. According to newspaper reports, take off was not completed without some difficulty. The plane rolled off the concrete apron and onto a grass-covered area and the wheels sank deep into the wet soil, so Lindbergh had to run the airplane on the runway for almost half an hour, looking for a stretch of hard surface to take off from. He started his flight at 11.30 am after a take-off run about 150 meters.

Source: Zagreb Airport 50 years


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