In 1927, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic to win a $25,000 prize put up by a wealthy hotel owner named Raymond Orteig. The contest was started in 1919 and was set to last for 5 years. When no one had won the prize by 1924, Orteig decided to extend the competition for another 5 years.
You can read all about Charles Lindbergh’s winning of this prize in approximately 21,801,652 different accounts and books. My favorite is Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg.
The short version of the story is that a no name airmail pilot was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean, much to the budding airline industry’s surprise. Many argue that this incentive prize by Orteig was part of a catalyst that helped the airline industry make obsolete most other non automobile transportation industries in the 25 years that followed, sometimes referred to as “The Lindbergh Boom”.
Peter Diamandis used the story and success of the Orteig prize as the inspiration for his X PRIZE Foundation. X PRIZE is most famous for it’s Ansari X PRIZE, where a small team sent a man to the edge of space twice in two weeks, thereby creating a truly reusable spacecraft for ...