Lindberghs Mark Anniversary With New Podcast

A podcast series on second chances resonates for the aviation community.

Erik Lindbergh
Lindbergh traced his grandfather Charles’ legacy across the Atlantic Ocean; he now prepares the Lindbergh Foundation for the 100th anniversary of that historic flight.Courtesy Erik Lindbergh

The month of May has been big in the Lindbergh family ever since Charles Lindbergh successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean on May 20-21, 1927. This week, his grandson, Erik Lindbergh, and business partner/wife Lyn Lindbergh, celebrate the launch of their podcast, "Second Chances," which aims to inspire those within the aviation industry and beyond.

Many pilots connect Erik Lindbergh with a flight from New York to Paris he made in 2002 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight—but most do not know that, just a few years prior, Erik faced a nadir in his life that nearly broke him. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when he was just 20 years old, sending the once state-champion gymnast and outdoor sports fanatic into a spiral of pain and denial. Struggling through life using a cane, he hit a breaking point when, at age 30, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic informed him that he needed a bilateral knee replacement. “I died there, in a way,” Erik says, “but that release allowed me to start to heal.”

Lyn Lindbergh has made a career as a corporate trainer and personal fitness coach, and she identified the opportunity to deliver the message of "Second Chances" not only through sharing Erik's story, but also those of other bright lights in the aviation industry who have faced similar depths only to rise again. Recent episodes they've recorded include interviews with his aunt, Reeve Morrow Lindbergh, and astronaut Steve Smith.

Erik Lindbergh
Erik Lindbergh faced the end of his athletic identity when he was in his 20s.Courtesy Erik Lindbergh

The Lindberghs will be at EAA AirVenture in July seeking more stories to share. Pilots, because of certain self-selected personality traits, tend to compartmentalize pain and struggle—and it has traditionally been a survival tactic to suppress and minimize any dark times they've faced. But Erik senses that now we, as a community, have reached an inflection point where we can talk about these emotions, and become richer and stronger for sharing them.

The series resonates, too, with the "second chance" that the aviation industry faces. Erik was recently elected chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation, which for 42 years has sought ways that aviation innovation can support environmental conservation. With the 100th anniversary of his grandfather's flight, Erik says that the foundation will sponsor a series of competitions and events to spur the "decarbonization" of aviation and aerospace, and drastically reduce the noise impact at the same time. These changes he identifies are necessary for aviation to continue to grow. His startup, VerdeGo, intends to lead by example here, bringing innovative, noise-mitigating propulsion systems to the aviation marketplace.

The foundation will host the Lindbergh Innovation Forum at the Aviation Gateway Park on Tuesday of the airshow. For access to the podcast, visit the Lindberghs online.