Charles Levine


in 1927, Charles Levine was Charles Lindbergh’s fiercest competitor. The Spirit of St. Louis was almost a plane manufactured by Levine, designed by Giuseppe Bellanca, the former parter of Orville Wright, and Levine’s new business partner. At the last minute, when Lindbergh presented him a check for the Miss Columbia, Levine changed his terms and insisted that he pick the crew onboard. When Lindbergh balked, he was escorted out of the Woolworth Building, where Levine had his offices. But Lindbergh didn’t give up, and neither did Levine; Lindbergh when to Ryan Aircraft Corp. and had the Spirit of St. Louis built there. When he took off for his transatlantic flight, Levine was trying frantically to get his plane unlocked after an injunction was handed down against him for breach of contract with another crew he assembled for the Miss Columbia. When the injunction was lifted hours later, he quickly organized a flight with Clarence Chamberlin, and was the first passenger to make the transatlantic flight. He eventually contracted Captain Walter “Ray” Hinchliffe, the best pilot in all of Eurpoe and possibly the globe, to act as the pilot to win the Orteig Prize for the east-west crossing of the Atlantic, and joined forces with the undefeated Mabel Boll, with whom he started an affair. She wanted badly to become the Queen of the Air. They made quite a pair.