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Airport’s Lindbergh Mural Coming Down

For 15 years, travelers to and from the airport have been greeted by a prominent mural of aviator Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh’s reign on the side of the airport’s commuter terminal is coming to an end.

With his crooked smile and lumpy aviator jumpsuit, the roughly 30-foot figure of Charles Lindbergh looms over traffic on Harbor Drive.

But not after today.

It will be removed from the side of the San Diego Airport's commuter terminal so that the building can undergo maintenance.

Constance White is the Art Program Manager for the airport. "I think it’s important for the public to know, that although it’s being removed, it’s not being deaccessioned. The piece is still a part of our collection and we would never sell this work to any other entity or airport. It will not be auctioned off," she said.

Instead, the Lindbergh likeness will be conserved and go into storage. White is unsure whether it will be returned to the terminal wall.

The mural, titled "Lucky/Spirit," was painted in 1997 by local artist John Whalen.

The towering Lindbergh is painted on aluminum panels which will be removed one by one. The mural’s sky blue backdrop will remain for the time being.

The removal and conservation will cost $20,000.

When conservators recently removed a test panel, they discovered the paint behind Lindbergh was a brighter, more vibrant blue, because it wasn’t exposed to the elements. That means after Lindbergh is removed from the wall, a dark blue shadow of famous aviator will remain in his place.

Lindbergh’s monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, was built by a San Diego company and in 1927 he flew a test flight from here to New York.

Video by Nicholas McVicker


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