When pilot Robert DeLaurentis called Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary Principal Victoria Peterson a few weeks ago to introduce himself and talk about his plans to fly solo around the world, she was thrilled at the prospect of her students being included in his historic endeavor.
The natural connection of Charles Lindbergh’s famous flight and the school’s namesake is what brought the pilot and the principal together. Eager to share the project with students and answer questions, DeLaurentis arranged a trip to Landmark Air, Hanger 3, located near Lindbergh Field, to show the students the actual plane that he will be flying around the world for the next 90 days.
Eager fourth-grade students from Mrs. Catarius’ and Mrs. Bennett’s classes got to try on his survival suit as well as enter the cramped quarters of the plane and see the equipment he will use to help him navigate around the globe. When the students asked if he was afraid, Delaurentis told the students that he has only been a pilot for five years, and fear is what prepares us to face challenges.
On the plane’s outer shell is a sticker of the school’s mascot, which happens to be a tiger sitting on top of the world. As part of the around-the-world flight, he will also retrace the flight path that Charles Lindbergh flew back on May 21, 1927 when he became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
The students sent him off with a rousing cheer of his flight-themed phrase, “I can fly through life!” Delaurentis left San Diego on May 17, and his solo flight will officially end when he lands in San Diego sometime in late August.
The now fourth graders will then be fifth graders, and will be ready to have the pilot return to their school with his stories from his trip around the world.