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Charles Lindbergh, looking entirely relaxed after having achieved the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight. (OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

On Transatlantic Bathroom Breaks

by Blythe Haaga
Mar 4, 2012

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Blythe Haaga

From our "How To Do Everything" podcast:

You may have read this week about a couple in Long Island who were enjoying a nice evening in their back yard when it started raining black sludge. Said Artie Hughes to 1010 WINS:

A plane was coming over. Next thing you know [my wife] says 'oh my God it's raining.' I said, 'no it's not.'

The worst possible scenario is of course that they were being accidentally bombed by the airplane's lavatory, as one investigator suggested. And while the FAA says they've found no evidence of whatever it was, the Long Island couple wouldn't have been the first to face such an incident. Forrest Wickman wrote about airplane waste dumps for Slate, and he tells us:

Charles Lindbergh, right after his historic flight across the Atlantic, was given an audience with King George V. And King George at some point leaned forward and asked, 'There's one thing I want to know, how did you pee?'

Kings can ask this sort of thing.

So Lindbergh explained that in his airplane his chair was made of wicker and there was a hole in it. And there was a funnel below that hole. And his waste, whenever nature called, would go down through there into sort of an aluminum can. And so he explained that and said that rather than show up with it in Le Bourget, the airport that he landed in, that he just dropped it over France.

So, while it's still unclear what fell onto Artie Hughes and his wife in Long Island this week, we're pretty sure we know what hit that nice couple enjoying a pleasant evening outside Paris in 1927.

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