Charles Lindbergh learned to pilot a plane at the age of 20. In 1926 he was flying a mail route between Chicago and St. Louis. A $25,000 prize offered for the first solo Atlantic flight caught his attention. With the help of a St. Louis businessman, he set out to win the prize in a specially built plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Leaving Roosevelt Field, Long Island, NY, at 7:52 a.m. on May 22, 1927, he arrived at Le Bourget airport in Paris at 10:22 p.m. local time the following day. Lindbergh spent most of the remainder of his life as a consultant to the aircraft and airline industries. By 1940 he had become politically controversial, taking a strong public stand in favor of isolationism and warning of the superiority of the German air force. Once the United States entered the war, Lindbergh served as a civilian consultant and flew 50 missions against the Japanese.