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Aviators to reenact Lindbergh flight

Hugh E. O'Donnell/Globe Staff/FileIn 1927, Charles Lindbergh made preparations for his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis. Hugh E. O'Donnell/Globe Staff/FileIn 1927, Charles Lindbergh made preparations for his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis. (Hugh E. O'Donnell/Globe Staff/File)
By Stewart Bishop
Globe Correspondent / May 30, 2009
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Eighty-two years after Charles Lindbergh took off from Long Island, N.Y., and flew into history, a group of aviators will reenact his flight over the Bay State on his way to Paris.

A squadron of about a dozen planes will take off from Mansfield Municipal Airport a little after 9 a.m. today, at about the exact time of day Lindbergh crossed Southeastern Massachusetts en route to Paris in his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, in his historic bid to become the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. The event this morning is open to the public.

"We thought this would be a good way to honor Lindbergh's flight," said Mansfield airport manager David Dinneen, who helped organize the event. "And to let people know more about aviation."

The flight will take the aviators from Mansfield over the Taunton Green. From there, the planes will fly in formation over Middleborough, Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanson, Pembroke, Duxbury, and finally to George Harlow Field Airport in Marshfield, where Lindbergh's plane left US shores to go "feet wet," an old aviation term meaning "over water."

Dinneen said the squadron will be led by a 1942 Gullwing Stinson, and other planes will include a 1940 B-15 transport plane used as a troop carrier, and some open-cockpit, single-engine planes.

Dinneen said the occasion is bittersweet: George Harlow, the Marshfield airport's namesake and an avid aviator, died Tuesday.

"We're going to celebrate Lindbergh's flight and George Harlow's life," Dinneen said.

After the planes land, the public is invited to a reception where people may view the aircraft up close at the airport in Marshfield.

Lindbergh took off May 20, 1927, from Roosevelt Field in Long Island.