Charles Albert Levine bibliography

Charles Albert Levine (March 17, 1897 – December 6, 1991) was the first passenger aboard a transatlantic flight. 

  • Time magazine; Monday, May 2, 1927; Miss Eloysa Levine, nine-year-old daughter of New York-Paris Flight-Backer Charles Levine, patriotically christened the Wright-Bellanca monoplane Columbia, with a tepid bottle of ginger ale. Afterwards, laughing, she climbed into the Columbia with her friend Grace Jonas, Superintendent John Carisi and Pilot Clarence D. Chamberlin for a ride. As the plane took off, a bolt was sheared in the shock absorbers, crippling the landing dolly, meaning disaster 99 out of a 100 cases. Five thousand terror-gripped onlookers watched airmen rush into the air with seven planes to warn Chamberlin. Flying beside him, they held out wheels to signal his trouble. For 50 minutes the Levines, horrified, watched the plane circle hopelessly about, followed by an ambulance ready to pick up the bodies. They saw Carisi climb over the edge, struggle vainly, hanging head down, to fix the buckled wheel. Pilot Chamberlin. wrapped the children in blankets to save the shock of a crash. Then he slowly swooped down, ten feet from the ground flattened into a pancake stall, 'tail downwards. A wing dragged along the ground, slewed the ship around but not over. Incredibly, Pilot Chamberlin, hero with Pilot Bert Acosta of the world-record endurance flight (TIME, April 25) had eluded disaster. Eloysa Levine laughed, "Mr. Chamberlin wrapped me in blankets. He thought I was cold."
  • Der Tog (The Day); June 9, 1927; What the Jew in the Street. What do the Jewish masses on the street think about all the hoopla over the young Jewish man, Charles Levine? What is the Jewish community saying and thinking about it, and what is the meaning of this particular event for the older generation of Jews from the Old Country? A stroll down the various Jewish streets of New York allows one to eavesdrop on various conversations of typical Jews and to find some answers to our questions. To start, I went to a Hassidic synagogue on Attorney Street, to the renowned house of study of the illustrious Rabbi Z. I wanted to know what Hassidim thought of such a curious accomplishment and, if possible, to get a word from the Rabbi himself. Oh, to hear a word about Levine's great feat from the Rabbi himself! Ah, but I was very disappointed. The Rabbi did not even want to hear one word about this, considering it was a holiday (the first day of Shavuot). To begin with, he considers the whole enterprise a secular matter, and therefore something completely inappropriate to discuss on a holy day. Secondly, the Rabbi, as I found out later from one of his oldest adherents, is very angry at the young Jewish man -- that Levine. It seems that Levine, in choosing the Sabbath for his trans-Atlantic departure, spurned the holiness of the Sabbath before the entire world. The old Hassid who told me this expressed a different opinion, however. He reasons that Levine was able to overcome the obstacles standing in his way during the flight because God was with him. It was doubtless in recognition of Levine's accumulated good deeds, he explains, that God joined him as co-pilot. "God is a devoted lover of his creations," added the old Hassid from behind his large, flowing white beard. A second Hassid -- also not exactly a young man -- but a stalwart person of true substance, bedecked in a silken waistcoat and displaying a solid gold watch chain, was clearly enjoying it all. Here was a Jew showing the world that he could do it just like the Christian, Lindbergh. "You understand," says my rich Hasid, "such acts matter to me. I fear that no matter what we Jews do, we will never have the complete respect of the non-Jews. But among our children and our grandchildren, Levine's feat has lent prestige to the Jewish name." A third Hassid, a thin sickly Jew, with a very drawn face, a high forehead, and a pair of intelligent, sad eyes waits until the other Hassid has finished and then lets out a deep sigh before speaking up. " Udoy! Udoy! Jewish history is full of Jews who went to their reward in the afterlife in flames or lost their heads to the sword. So it's good when we find young Jewish heroes like Levine who demonstrate to the world that a Jew is not the pansy the world took him for." At the Beys Hamedresh ha'Godol on Norfolk Street, a group of Jews stand outside talking about Levine. It is the time between the mincha and mayriv prayers on this holiday and people have a moment to chat as they only do on holidays. The congregation is mixed, but they all have the same subject on their minds. Someone discovers a few pennies in the pocket of his holiday raiment and goes out to buy a Yiddish paper that has just hit the newsstand. One gray-hair reads about Levine's to-do, then another. The crowd around them grows thick. A little snuff is passed around with the newspaper. Others just stand on the periphery and listen to what's being read and said. Soon a discussion breaks out about the subject of "airplanepilotology," in general, and about the Jewish pilot, Levine, in particular. From somewhere outside the circle a little Jew crowds his way in and, with a crooked little beard and worn out everyday clothing, has his say. "Why are you making such a racket about this flier? He flew out in a -- whatchamacallit -- in a flying machine. Not so? So what's all the hoo-ha about? I see airplane pilots ten times a day out at Coney Island. It's gotten so I don't even notice them any more, and here you are making a whole hullabaloo about it." A second Jew, with a small globular shaped head, who is, nonetheless a tad wider than he is tall, with a grotesquely shaped belly balanced on two short stumpy legs, wants to show right at the get-go that's he's a big expert on the subject. So he calls out: "I have no idea what the papers are screaming about! The whole thing is a bluff. Feh!" There was something more that he wanted to say after the uproarious laughter died down, but the assembled crowd sized up this "genius," and he was left with nothing more eloquent to say than his final "feh!" On the stairwell of the dispensary on Rivington Street several young women and a few older ones are discussing Levine's flight to Europe. The younger folks can't quite get over Levine's "sticktoitiveness" and the wonder of his flying over the ocean in an "air balloon." Suddenly, an older woman chimes in with an accent like those they have back in Berditchev. "Believe me, all this to-do on the street is a bit too much. It's those people who can get across the street without getting killed who should be honored! Automotos fly by with their fiendish cry, crashing right into people. Flying over the ocean takes less bravery than crossing a street in New York." The younger women nod their heads and begin yelling at their kids to keep on the sidewalk and away from the street where the cars are whizzing by. On Second Avenue near a theater, several Jewish girls and boys stand looking at a poster of Lindbergh displayed in the window of an ice cream parlor. The girls can't take their eyes off Lindbergh. One of the young girls opines that "Lindy's" trip is more important than Levine's. Firstly, he was the first to fly across the ocean, and secondly he flew alone. "That's a hero for you. Young, Lindy, boy!" Resentful of the girl's fascination of Lindy, one of the young boys tries to prove that Levine is more of a hero than Lindy. Firstly, he says, he flew farther than Lindbergh; second he's a millionaire, and he left his family and business in order to fly across the ocean. And -- here we're still speaking about that excited young man -- given the fact that Levine didn't fly alone, if there had been a mishap, then two men would have been lost instead of one. Another girl breaks in, insisting that it's not such a big thing when two fly together, since one can sleep while the other flies. "That's right!" pipes up the first girl, with half-closed eyes, and adds in English: " I would love to sit by Lindbergh's right side and help him stay awake." This, even the most zealous Levine supporters can't argue with. With that, the young man yells out that any young girls who are "crazy" about Lindbergh are fools. "Charlie Levine is a thousand times more of a hero than Lindbergh is." "But Levine is already married," the second one adds, putting an end to the subject. A young Yiddish actress in a theater district café states that she envies Mrs. Levine. She notes that all the papers print Mrs. Levine's pictures along with lengthy bios of her. "What did she do?" asks the puzzled actress. "Why do the papers give her so much publicity? Her husband is truly a hero. After all, he risked his life showing courage and daring. But Mrs. Levine? What did she do to get so much attention?" The actress then whips a powderpuff out her bag and powders her nose with such ferocity that it becomes red instead of white. An actor, a "star," who is sitting at another table at the Café, says that in Levine's place he couldn't have withstood the torment of staying up two days cooped up in an tiny airplane with a "partner" by his side without being able to sneak in a hand or two of pinochle. "It's such a terrible thing that for that alone Levine should earn a separate medal," says the actor. A well-known cantor wonders what Levine's flight will do to help the plight of immigrants? The cantor has struggled for the last few years to bring his wife and children over from Europe -- with no results. "It's like this," says the cantor, "America should be ashamed of itself about its closed door policy regarding immigrants. Charlie Levine is himself a child of immigrants and, who knows, maybe one of my sons could grow up to be as big a hero as Levine." The cantor believes that, if by some miracle his family is allowed in, his older son could become the next Edison. "But what's the use dreaming?" he asks. "They won't let us in." But still he wants to know, "Can't we take advantage of the success of this child of immigrants, Levine, to relieve some of the severity of the immigration laws?"
  • Time magazine; June 13, 1927; One was a wiry, serious-looking man of 32—Charles Duncan Chamberlin—a product of one of Iowa's many Main Streets, in the town of Denison. Early in life he developed a passion for tinkering with automobile engines. He studied electrical engineering at Iowa State University. He worked in a jewelry store. He married a pretty girl named Wilda Bogert. He went into aviation through the path traveled by so many young pilots—training in the Army during Wartime, barnstorming, stunt flying. Then he got a backer and a superbly designed Wright-Bellanca monoplane. He shattered the endurance record by remaining in the air (with chunky Bert Acosta) for 51 hours. He was ready to conquer the Atlantic long before Captain Charles Augustus Lindbergh came out of the West, but bickerings disturbed his camp. The other was a stocky Jew of 30—Charles A. Levine—an industrialist of Brooklyn. He began his business career by selling second-hand automobiles. He made several million dollars by salvaging ammunition after the War. He met his wife when she won a Brooklyn beauty contest. Something romantic in him, as well as shrewd business acumen, prompted him to affiliate himself with aviation manufacturing. The U. S. Government refused to grant him an air mail contract, criticized his record. Aviators said he was trying to commercialize a sport, when financial squabbles delayed Chamberlin's flight. Levine had to do something adventurous to vindicate himself. Secretly, in a Long Island hotel on the night before the takeoff, Levine planned to make the flight with Chamberlin. He wrote a letter to his wife telling why; he made his will disposing of a $5,000,000 estate. At 6:05 a. m. he amazed the crowd at Roosevelt Field and caused his wife to swoon, when he quietly climbed into the Columbia's cockpit beside Chamberlin and was off for somewhere in Europe. Chamberlin followed Captain Lindbergh's general route from Long Island to Newfoundland and thence across the Atlantic. Some 340 miles west of Land's End, England, Chamberlin and Levine circled around the Cunarder Mauretaytia, only 80 minutes after the liner had passed the U. S. cruiser Memphis, which was carrying Captain Lindbergh to Washington. With the setting of the sun, the lemon-colored wings of the Columbia were seen over Plymouth, England. Then the favoring winds seemed to point to Germany; so Chamberlin steered diagonally across the English Channel, Belgium and Holland. At dawn, with the gasoline supply exhausted, Chamberlin made a successful landing at Eisleben, Germany, 110 miles went of Berlin. He had flown 3,905 miles in 42 hours, 32 minutes —exceeding in distance, but not in speed, Captain Lindbergh's non-stop flight of 3,610 miles in 33 hours, 29 minutes. Revived with gasoline, the Columbia set out for Berlin where a gigantic welcome was in store. But fortune decreed an unromantic end. Off the course, lost in a fog, developing engine trouble—due perhaps to the new brand of gasoline—the Columbia smashed its propeller while making a forced landing in a muddy field near Kottbus, 70 miles southwest of Berlin. To Chamberlin and Levine, the good burgomaster of Kottbus offered beer.
  • Washington Post; June 18, 1927; Transatlantic Aviators Make Hop After Meeting Mates on German Liner. Berlin, June 17, 1927 (Associated Press) Clarence Chamberlin and Charles Levine arrived at Tempelhof flying field by plane this evening from Hamburg and Magdeburg. The transatlantic fliers were accompanied by their wives, whom they met this morning at Bremerhaven upon their arrival from New York.
  • Time magazine; June 20, 1927; There is no doubt that Pilot Clarence Duncan Chamberlin and Passenger Charles A. Levine accomplished a heroic feat. Daring, they made a non-stop flight of 3,905 miles—the longest in history. Resolute, they reached Berlin after twice being forced to descend en route. Worthy, they were honored by President Paul von Hindenburg and the German people. Yet, despite their courage, despite their achievement, certain critics, captious, unpraising, sought to undermine their standing as heroes. Passenger Levine was particularly subjected to ill-natured criticism. Glorious in itself, their flight was followed by a series of "incidents" regrettably interfering with true appreciation of their accomplishment. Prominent among such incidents were: Unlucky. Among the first utterances of Passenger Levine, after landing in Germany, was a cablegram to the Hearst press: "Lindbergh was lucky and we were not. If we had had one-tenth of Lindbergh's luck, we would have done much better. The wind was against us 75% of the way. ... Still, we flew for 44 hours, and covered 4,400 miles as against Lindbergh's 33½ hours and 3,600 miles. But Lindbergh was lucky and we were not." Coolidge's Congratulations. The Jewish Press was irate because President Coolidge ignored Passenger Levine in cabling congratulations to Pilot Chamberlin. Said The Day (a Jewish daily published in Manhattan): "At last we, too, are convinced of the great economy of our President. He is so parsimonious, he watches so closely the cash register of Uncle Sam that even the great sum of about 66c (the cost of cabling three words to Germany) is of importance to him. "Two men left New York; two men risked their lives; two men have shown heroism and created a record even greater than Lindbergh's. Two men left; two men arrived, Americans both. But the President of the United States congratulates only one, and by strange coincidence the one whom the President has not found worthy of being mentioned by name is named Levine. "Would Roosevelt have acted in this way? Would Wilson have done it, or, for that matter Alfred Smith if he happened to be in the White House? But why should we wonder? Was ever a man with a Jewish name honored and recognized during the last Administration? "Sixty-six cents economy, or the recognition of an American pioneer—and the 66c win, or is it only because the pioneer happens to be called Levine?" Cancelled Stamps. Postmaster General Harry S. New reprimanded Fred Sealy, Hempstead, Long Island, postmaster, because he had cancelled air mail stamps on 250 letters which Passenger Levine carried across the Atlantic. Neither Levine nor Chamberlin had any right to carry U. S. mail. Furthermore, the cancellation and the trip to Europe increased the value of each stamp from a few cents to $50 to $1,000, according to varying estimates. Several dozen of the letters bearing these stamps were said to be addressed to Passenger Levine. Said Hempstead Postmaster Sealy: "Gosh, I'm sorry I got into this mixup. I didn't know that there was any controversy between the Post Office and Mr. Levine. "Gosh, I didn't mean any harm. I just felt patriotic and wanted to do a personal favor—that's all." Said Charles C. Lockwood, counsel for Mr. Levine: "It was, and still is, our purpose to deliver all the cancelled stamps which we receive back to Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, for them to retain such stamps as they want and distribute the others to museums and historic institutions." Passports. The flyers did not carry passports with them. Said Pilot Chamberlin: "I have no passport and I don't want one." Said Passenger Levine: "I doubt if anyone will trouble us over passports." French Reaction. The Berlin correspondent of the Paris Midi aroused Frenchmen with the following dispatch: "The moment has come to direct attention to the strange attitude adopted by the aviators as well as by the diplomatic representatives of the U. S., since the landing in Berlin. They systematically keep French journalists and officials out of all manifestations, social or political, in honor of the pilots of the Columbia." 
  • Time magazine; June 27, 1927; Pilot Clarence Duncan Chamberlin and passenger Charles A. Levine were last week enjoying the hospitality of Germans, resting in the watering place known as Baden-Baden, inspecting huge multi-motored airships at the Dornier and Zeppelin plants. Some of their doings: Fraulein Thea Rasche, Germany's only licensed woman pilot, was taken for a ride over Berlin by Pilot Chamberlin. Skillful, she also took passenger Levine for a ride. Correspondents heralded the trips as strengthening to U.S. - German relations. Flyers Chamberlin and Levine hustled to Bremen to meet their respective wives, who arrived from the U.S. Said Mrs. Chamberlin on seeing her husband: "Why, your knickers are awful. Didn't you even have them cleaned?" Then the two couples flew to Berlin in three hops. The two wives were reported to be feeling ill after the first hop. "The Columbia is not on the market," said Mr. Levine when Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, rich U.S. slacker now living in Germany, offered to buy the monoplane. Mr. Bergdoll let it be known that he desires to fly to the U.S. to show that he is no coward, that conscientious objection was his only reason for refusing to fight in the World War.
  • Time magazine; July 18, 1927; The flying world, stirred up as never before by three transatlantic flights within 41 days, buzzed everywhere with ambitious designs. Notable among the flight-planners were: Maurice Drouhin. In Paris, Maurice Drouhin, commercial pilot, holder of many records, announced that he and a comrade were ready to fly a Farman (French make) biplane across the Atlantic and back. But Charles A. Levine of Manhattan was in Paris, hunting everywhere for someone to pilot him back to the U. S. in the Bellanca ship, Columbia, that flew from New York to Berlin. Clarence D. Chamberlin, Mr. Levine's onetime employe, was no longer obliged by contract to pilot Mr. Levine and declined the latter's invitation to fly the Columbia home. Mr. Levine approached Lieut. Bernt Balchen, Byrd aide, and Sir Alan Cobham of England, but without success. Then it occurred to Mr. Levine that his homeward pilot might well be a Frenchman. He approached Pilot Pelletier D'Oisy, Paris-to-Tokyo aeronaut. He talked with one-legged Pilot Tarascon, who was to have flown the Atlantic last year with the late Pilot Coli. Finally, after long night sessions, he decided on Maurice Drouhin, whose private plans were virtually complete. He made Pilot Drouhin an offer (reputedly $150,000) which Pilot Drouhin, whose wife was about to have a baby, could not well refuse. Pilot Drouhin said he accepted in order to be the first Frenchman to reach New York by non-stop flight. Frenchmen were ill-pleased with this explanation and stormed in the newspapers that Pilot Drouhin should have carried out his plans with his countrymen. The Farman Motor & Airplane Co. published a bitter letter about its pilot having been "purchased" and sped its preparations to beat Mr. Levine anyway. The Aero Club of France said it would enter the race too, to insure a French victory. But Mr. Levine was jubilant. "He [Drouhin] held a long distance record before Chamberlin and I broke it," he said. Clarence D. Chamberlin, contradicting dark rumors that he bore Mr. Levine ill will, flew with Maurice Drouhin to London in the Levine-owned Columbia, to show the Frenchman its tricks and abilities. From London, Maurice Drouhin and the Columbia conveyed Mr. Levine back to Paris, where Mr. Levine rejoined his attorney and press agent. Thea Rasche, comely, 27-year-old German fraulein, skilled and licensed "stunt" flyer, dropped into Paris last week in her small sport plane with 100-h.p. Flamingo motor. Her father, a wealthy brewer of Essen, and Mr. Levine of Chamberlin fame, had promised her sufficient funds to go to the U. S. and try to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She planned to use a U. S.-built plane. She said: "I have a very robust constitution .... I am capable of accomplishing such an undertaking." Gladys Roy, U. S. aviatrix, left Cleveland last week to fetch a Ryan monoplane from San Diego, Calif. Her object: " ... to fly the Atlantic before any other woman gets a chance. ..." Her objective: Rome. Her backers: Minneapolis businessmen. Reéné Fonck, Frence ace, whose transatlantic Sikorsky crumpled and burned last year on Long Island, watched another Sikorsky approach completion on Long Island and made plans for a Paris flight next month. The new ship was built with perforated flat strips of duralumin instead of the tubing now popular at many factories. Engineer Igor Sikorsky said: "There is no way to tell what is going on inside a tube. There may be a dangerous erosion.  ..." Gotthard Strohschein, whilom Chicago preacher but now an inventor in Jersey City, declared that he had leased a site on Staten Island where he would build an all-metal biplane having a 115-foot wingspread, two 1,000-h. p. steam turbines, storage space for 500 gallons of crude oil and 1,000 gallons of water. This steam machine, he said, would be able to pick up two pilots, a mechanic, an observer and eight passengers. It could and would, he said, fly from New York to Europe in 18 or 20 hours. Lloyd W. Bertaud, U. S. mail flyer, original colleague of Pilot Chamberlin for his transatlantic flight, announced that he would try flying from Long Island to Rome (4,300 miles) next month in a Fokker monoplane with 480-h.p. Bristol Jupiter motor (air-cooled). Pilot Bertaud's backer was Publisher William Randolph Hearst. Frank T. Courtney, British aviation captain, was busy last week at Calshot, England, seeing the last touches—spark-plug scraping, compass adjustments—put to a "Whale" seaplane built by the Dornier factory at Friedrichshafen, Germany, in which he meant to fly the Great Circle route from Ireland to the Battery, Manhattan, with a stop at Newfoundland to refuel, relax. The flight was to demonstrate the superiority of seaplanes for transoceanic travel. Seaplane enthusiasts see no reason for risking forced water landings, like the America's at Ver-sur-Mer, in land machines.
  • Washington Post; August 29, 1927; Paris, August 28, 1927 (Associated Press) The strain of the long wait at Le Bourget for good weather is beginning to have an effect on the nerves of the transatlantic fliers. A heated discussion between the French flier Drouhin and Charles Levine occurred today, and at one time it looked as if there would be another pugilistic encounter, which would have made Levine's record two on consecutive days. 
  • Corbis; 1927; Air Circus Team Posing During Future Flight Promotion. London: Waiting To Hop To U. S. -- Levine Buys New Junkers Plane Queen Of The Air - With Mabel Boll And Bert Acosta To Attempt Trans-Ocean Flight. Photo Shows: The original "air circus" --left to right: Charles Levine, first Transatlantic air passenger and Playboy of the Air; Miss Mabel Boll, the Queen of Diamonds; and Bert Acosta, one of the most daring flyers in the game (he flew with Byrd to Paris) -- a picturesque trio which comprises the crew--barring disagreements--of Levine's new Junkers monoplane Queen of the Air. They will attempt to fly the risky east-west passage from England to the United States.
  • Time magazine; September 25, 1927; To Le Bourget flying field, near Paris, ventured Charles A. Levine, stubby, irascible transatlantic flyer. There he bade mechanics start the motor of his plane, the Columbia. When they obeyed, thinking he wished to taxi about the field for amusement, Charles A. Levine got in all by himself, reared along the runway, tilted the wings, jolted clumsily into the air, swooped dangerously over the airdrome, then set out over the Channel for England. A few hours later, people at Croydon Field, near London, craned upward at an extraordinary spectacle. They saw a big plane rocking and careening, dipping and swerving, as it four times circled the buildings in irregular fashion, like a monkey circling a vinegar-jug. Members of the Flying Force saw tragedy in the wabbling comedy above them in the air. An ambulance trundled out onto the field, men stood in tense postures. Finally Charles A. Levine landed in lopsided fashion with a great bounce. Officials at the field hurried to congratulate him, knowing well how much courage is required for an amateur to fly alone. Then they asked the little man for passport, baggage. He had neither. His reason for the flight to England remained mysterious after further questioning. But communication with Maurice Drouhin, French airman engaged to pilot the Columbia across the Atlantic, shed some light. Said he: "I have only had 20,000 francs ($800) of my two months' pay of 100,000 francs ($4,000). I am not going to chase Levine to London because if I saw him I would feel like killing him and then the English would put me in jail. But I am going to see if I can't seize the Columbia in London." Also it appeared that two swift French planes had left Le Bourget Field in an unsuccessful effort to overtake Charles A. Levine and herd him back to France. The prelude to this latest Levine-Drouhin squabble occurred when Charles A. Levine told his pilot to run him down to Deauville for the races. Drouhin answered brusquely that he had been engaged to fly the Atlantic, that he was "no taxi driver," that he had no inclinations to see the races at Deauville.
  • Time magazine; Monday, October 17, 1927; In Italy, Charles A. Levine, transatlantic air passenger, sought interviews with the Pope and Benito Mussolini. In the throne room of the Vatican, Mr. Levine, well rehearsed, kissed the Pope's ring. He listened mutely while His Holiness carried on a polite monolog, later confided: "I was so flabbergasted, I couldn't say a thing." It was the first time a U. S. citizen had ever been received in the throne room. At the close of the interview, the Pope blessed Mr. Levine, his family, his future flights. From the Vatican, Mr. Levine betook himself the next day to a 15-minute audience with Benito Mussolini. Said the visitor: "We talked chiefly about aviation in which Mussolini demonstrated a really superior intelligence. His courtesy was gracious beyond words." The interview conclued, Mr. Levine with the Papal blessing of the day before still fresh on his head, exclaimed: "This is the most beautiful day of my life!" Forthwith he stepped into his monoplane, the Columbia, in which sat Captain W. R. Hinchcliffe, pilot, ready to guide the plane on its flight to Venice. A passenger, the Duke of Orleans, rode with them. Soon the Columbia developed engine trouble, was forced to glide down into a field gashed by a deep ditch. The ditch fouled the landing gear, tripped the plane which then buried its nose in the ground, its engine wrecked, its wings twisted. Miraculously, no one was injured.  
  • Time magazine; October 24, 1927; The return of Hero Charles. A. Levine little resembled that of long-wandering Ulysses. Not alone the faithful watchdog of New York City, Official Handshaker Grover C. Whalen, but everyone else, recognized Hero Levine far in the distance. He was not grey and grizzled. He was only four months and a half older than when he skipped aboard the airplane Columbia at Mitchell Field, L. I., to become a hero. He had no adventures to tell because the press had told them all—how he sat with Hero Clarence Chamberlin in the Columbia until it came down in Germany; how he then toured Europe with a British pilot until he crashed in Italy. Mrs. Grace Levine and Eloyse Levine, aged 9, arose at 5 a.m. and, leaving Ardeth Levine, aged 1, in the Levine home at Rockaway Park, L. I., joined Handshaker Whalen on the tug Macom. Soon Hero Levine, a smaller, quieter, ruddy-blond edition of Mussolini, and Jewish instead of Italian, climbed off the S. S. Leviathan. He answered news-gathers questions as though he knew they were perfunctory, called at City Hall because he was expected there, lunched at the Hotel Astor because he was hungry. He was not surprised that New York did not toot its horns at him and get wildly excited. It was raining. In the Rockaways, where Charles A. Levine had been a popular figure long before the emergence of Hero Levine, the demonstration was more florid. Shiny motor cars, opulent furs, proud gesticulations, eager recognition surrounded every step of the native's return. Smiles and congratulations flowed freely everywhere, together with a babble of question about Hero Levine's business plans. His plans are, he said in his unbothered way, to fly from Europe to the U. S. some day and to promote aviation as best Charles A. Levine can. " I'm going to leave the talking to others," he said, "I'll look after the flying end."
  • Time magazine; Monday, Oct. 31, 1927; All summer Charles Albert Levine looped luridly about Europe. Such were his squabbles, such his eccentricities that jokes flourished around his name. Some termed him "publicity seeker;" some, "crank." Many wondered why he did not cease blinking brashly in the limelight and return home. One reason why Charles Albert Levine did not immediately return home appeared last week. From France came four men and a model. She was trim, neatly proportioned, tapering. She was a model for a 40-ton, 7-motored "flying wing," the like of which Mr. Levine hopes to put into transatlantic passenger operation next year. With her came two Frenchmen—Alexander Kartvelichvili, Edmond Chagniard, her designers. Passenger, engines, crew of the actual ship will be stored in a 180-foot "single wing," which is three yards thick. Two motors will be held idle for emergencies. The fuselage is long and slim, chiefly a strut to hold the tail. But before the actual ship is built, the model must be well tested in a wind tunnel, i. e. a stout tunnel built for aviation model tests. So terrific is the suction of the propeller set at one end to furnish air currents, that a man standing in the tunnel would be swept into the whirling blades, instantly killed. 
  • Time magazine; Monday, August 13, 1928; Quivering Jewish ire last week faced suave Anglo-Saxon aplomb in the Casino at Deauville, France, focal point of international folly. Said the man with the ire: "You the guy that edits The Boulevardier and responsible for the dirty cracks taken at me?" Said the man with aplomb, "Yes, I'm the guy. What about it?" "Just that!" shouted the man with the ire, planting his left fist on the other's foppish jaw. The Casino's colorful clientele assembled to separate the pair. Ireful Charles A. Levine, famed passenger, was led away by his bejeweled protégé Miss Mabel Boll. 
  • Time magazine; Monday, June 24, 1929; Last week Charles A. Levine, famed air passenger, drove his automobile 60 m.p.h. at Far Rockaway, Long Island, was arrested, paid a $25 fine. After receiving the fine, the judge climbed down from his bench, handshook Passenger Levine. Litigation in Queens, New York, last week revealed that Passenger Levine once bought an $18,000 diamond bracelet for his friend, Mabel ("Queen of Diamonds") Boll.
  • Los Angeles Times; February 28, 1937; Headlines Fades Out: Charles A. Levine, Who Once Flew Atlantic, Forgotten by Public. New York, February 27, 1937. Many men have flown the seas, but none quite as Charles A. Levine did. But then, aviation has known no one quite like this nervous New York businessman who leaped into the headlines ten years ago and flew back and forth among them -- like an acrobat who swings from trapeze to trapeze. Aerial Stowaway. He was the first trans-Atlantic aerial stowaway -- probably the only person who ever flew non-stop from New York to Europe without a hat. Levine was one of yesteryear's most involved headlines, for he followed the fame that accrued from his daring stowaway flight by becoming involved in many matters that had nothing to do with flying. The year 1927 was the pioneer period of over-the-ocean flying. Levine had built the huge plane named the Columbia, and Clarence Chamberlin was chosen to pilot it. Levine had wanted to go as a passenger, but it was thought unwise to add an ounce's unnecessary weight to the plane. That was the reason he stole a ride on his own plane. Flights Planned. Back in the United States, Levine began talking about bigger and better planes, bigger and better flights. The only one of importance was a flight from New York to Havana, with Mabel Boll, called "the Queen of Diamonds," as a passenger. Called "The Millionaire Stowaway" in 1927, Levine was testifying five years later that he was penniless. Time soon blurred the headlines. He came back to black type in 1934 when he was found unconscious in the kitchen of a friend's home, with five gas jets turned on. He recovered. Less than a year later he was in Nevada getting a divorce; and on the same day he was married again. Star in Declension. Levine's star rose in the days of venturesome, thrilling, long distance flying. It began to fade, as a headline, when aviation graduated to a prosaic means of transportation. Five short years after he flew the ocean as a stowaway, a 225-pound bronze bust of him was in the window of a secondhand dealer who wanted $500 for it. But there was no rush of buyers. 
  • Los Angeles Times; August 10, 1937; Ocean-Flyer Levine Faces Charge as Smuggling Suspect. New York, August 9, 1937. Charles A. Levine, former scrap metal dealer whose troubles began shortly after he and Clarence Chamberlin, the aviator, made a successful flight from New York to Germany in the old Columbia, is in trouble with the Federal authorities, it was learned today, on charges of smuggling. A complaint on file with United States Commissioner Garret W. Cotter charges Levine with facilitating the transportation and concealment of some 5000 pounds of tungsten powder, which was smuggled into the United States from Canada in the fall and winter of last year. Levine has been released on $500 bail for the action of the grand jury.
  • Los Angeles Times; December 18, 1938; Levine Convicted in Smuggling Case. New York, December 17, 1938. Charles A. Levine, first trans-Atlantic airplane passenger, was convicted today in Federal court of conspiracy and smuggling and concealing tungsten powder brought into this country from Canada. The maximum penalty is seven years' imprisonment and $15,000 fine. Judge Goddard granted a motion from Levine's release in bail of $2,500 until Monday, when he will be sentenced.
  • Time magazine; January 23, 1939; Divorced. Charles A. Levine, 41, fabulous Brooklyn junk dealer who accompanied Clarence Chamberlin on his 1937 European flight as the first transatlantic airplane passenger; by his second wife, Delia Doris Levine; in Reno. Grounds: cruelty. For more than a year Levine has been in Northeastern Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, serving a two-year sentence for smuggling tungsten into the U. S. 
  • Time magazine; December 1, 1930; Charles A. Levine, millionaire junkman who flew the Atlantic in 1927 as Pilot Clarence Duncan Chamberlin's passenger, was arrested and jailed in Vienna on a charge of conspiring to forge French coins of small denomination. His explanation: he was having some little medals made resembling French coins with which he was going to surprise his U. S. friends at Christmas. With him at the time of his arrest was his good friend Mabel ("Queen of Diamonds") Boll who subsequently fled to Paris.
  • Los Angeles Times; January 11, 1942; Levine, of Atlantic Hop Fame, Held in Alien Smuggling Case
    from the Los Angeles Times, January 11, 1942. Charles A. Levine, the ex-junk dealer who claimed the now-obscured fame of being the first trans-Atlantic airplane passenger in 1927, was jailed in New York yesterday on a Los Angeles indictment of conspiring to smuggle a German alien into the United States. The confessed alien and an asserted accomplice of Levine are held in the County Jail here. The man, who called himself the "Millionaire Stowaway" when he and Clarence Chamberlin flew the huge plane Columbia to Germany, waived removal proceedings in New York Federal court and was held in $1,000 bail. Asst. U.S. Atty. Russell K. Lambeau declared yesterday that the illegal entrance of the alien, Edward Schinek, occurred last May 30, when Peter Joseph Walter, Los Angeles hotel man, and the latter's son, assertedly spirited Schinek across the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas. Lambeau said that Walter went to the Hall of Records here and obtained the birth certificate of an American citizen, Edward Siegel, of Los Angeles, and that Levine supplied the letter stating that Schinek, posing as Siegel, was an American businessman and an old acquaintance of the Atlantic flyer. With the asserted false birth certificate and Levine's letter, Schinek was brought across the border. Schinek's wife, in a subsequent operation, according to Lambeau, was hidden in a huge gasoline tank beneath an automobile and brought into the United States at San Ysidro below San Diego. She was arrested for illegal entry but is now at liberty on her own recognizance. Schinek has pleaded guilty to illegal entry charges, and Walter has pleaded guilty to smuggling charges, Lambeau asserted. Walter's son, also named by Federal authorities as a co-conspirator in the smuggling, is still in Mexico. Levine, since his sensational flight with Chamberlin, has received occasional mention in the public print. The latest was in 1934, when he was found unconscious in the kitchen of a friend's home, with five gas jets turned on.
  • Los Angeles Times; March 19, 1942; Levine Asks Time for Fine Payment. Charles A. Levine, 45, who became the first trans-Atlantic plane passenger by financing an air-trip to Europe without making an appreciable nick in his once expansive bankroll, found himself in trouble with the law again yesterday over a matter of $500. Fined $500 and given a suspended 150-day jail sentence last month by Federal Judge J.F.T. O'Connor for conspiring to smuggle a German alien, Edgar Schinek, into this country, Levine appeared before the jurist to explain why he had not paid the fine. Through his attorney, Morris Lavine, the ex-Brooklyn metal-dealer said his wife's illness had called him to New York and that he had been unable to raise the money. Judge O'Connor will decide today on Levine's offer to pay the penalty at the rate of $50 per month. 
  • New York Times; December 18, 1991; Charles A. Levine, 94, Is Dead; First Transatlantic Air Passenger. Charles A. Levine, who became aviation’s first trans-Atlantic passenger in 1927 when he sponsored an attempt to beat Col. Charles A. Lindbergh to Europe, died December 6 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. He was 94 years old and had moved to Washington from New York City this fall. His family said he died after a brief illness. Mr. Levine flew into history with Clarence D. Chamberlin at the controls of a monoplane designed by Guiseppe Bellanca and owned by Mr. Levine, then a millionare businessman. Their 225-horsepower craft, named Columbia, had been ready for weeks. But the race to be the first to fly the Atlantic was lost to Colonel Lindbergh when a suit filed by one of Mr. Chamberlin’s would-be co-pilots, Lloyed Bertaud, marooned the Columbia in its hangar at Roosevelt Field on Long Island. Mr. Levine got a sheriff’s attachment quashed hours after Lindbergh, in the Spirit of St. Louis, lifted off from the same airfield. Lindbergh’s arrival in Paris on May 21 astounded the world and overshadowed the Chamberlin-Levine venture. To revive interest in the flight, Mr. Levine announced that Mr. Chamberlin would fly nonstop to Berlin, taking off June 4 with a mystery passenger, who turned out to be himself. Record for Nonstop Flight. The plane ran out of gas before reaching its goal but still set a record of 3,911 miles in 43 hours of nonstop flight, surpassing Lindbergh’s mark by about 300 miles. With Mr. Chamberlin at the controls virtually the entire time, the Columbia landed 100 miles short of Berlin in the town of Eisleben on June 6. Mr. Levine was born in North Adams, Mass., in 1897 but was reared in Brooklyn. He left school early to help his father in the scrap-metal business, set up his own company in 1917 and made a fortune with a salvage contract for the War Department, buying and disposing of spent shell casings. He branched out into airplane manufacturing in the mid-1920’s and took flying lessons. He was said to have lost heavily in the stock market crash of 1929 but kept  his interest in aviation, backing flights and spending large sums on experimental planes. In 1937 he was convicted on a Federal smuggling-conspiracy charge involving 2,000 pounds of tungsten powder from Canada and then served two years in prison. In Los Angeles in 1942 he was convicted of smuggling a German alien into the United States from Mexico and was sentenced to 150 days in jail. The alien was identified at the trial as a refugee from a concentration camp. Mr. Levine is survived by a daughter, Ardith Polley of Palm Springs, Calif., five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.