French flying aces 'beat Charles Lindbergh's record'





A French researcher has unearthed evidence suggesting two French pilots beat America's Charles Lindbergh in his historic 1927 flight across the Atlantic only to vanish, perhaps shot down by Al Capone's bootleg mafia.

Charles Nungesser, known as French First World War aviation's "ace of aces" and François Coli, his navigator, were hailed as heroes when they took off from Paris on May 8, 1927, in the hope of reaching New York.

The prize for the first non-stop transatlantic flight was a place in the history books and a $25,000 (£15,600) cheque.

However, the pair vanished in their White Bird plane shortly after take off, just 13 days before Lindbergh completed his landmark New York to Paris flight aboard the Spirit of St. Louis.

The mystery of their demise has remained intact for the past 80 years and observers at the time assumed they had gone down over the English Channel or off the coast of Ireland.

But Bernard Decré, a retired French pilot, now claims to have found US Coast Guard archival records suggesting the Frenchmen made it across the Atlantic....

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