Friday, July 22, 2011

Saturday, July 22, 1933

I went swimming with Gweyn and Pauline. I got sick at my stomach and vomited three times. I think it's because I ate something.

Wiley Hardeman Post (November 22, 1898 – August 15, 1935)
July 22, 1933: Wiley Post Flies Around the World Alone

Pilot Wiley Post returns to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York,
7 days, 18 hours, 49 minutes after leaving. Aided by new technology, his flight
is the first solo circumnavigation by air, and it’s also the fastest-ever around-the-world-trip.

Born in Texas, Post wanted to be a pilot after seeing his first airplane at a county fair at the
age of 15. His dream was almost ruined while working in the oil fields to earn money for an airplane:
He lost his left eye in an accident. Despite the lack of depth perception, Post was able to
earn his pilot’s license and, with his workers’ compensation checks, bought his first airplane.
Post quickly advanced his flying skills and became the personal pilot for wealthy oilman F. C. Hall.
His boss encouraged Post to use the plane when it wasn’t needed for business, and the now
32-year-old pilot promptly went out and won a prestigious air race from Los Angeles to Chicago.

With the success, Hall allowed Post to use the sleek Lockheed Vega aircraft, named Winnie Mae
after Hall’s daughter, to pursue any air records he wished. Post wasted no time, and in 1931 he and
navigator Harold Gatty broke the around-the-world record that had been held by an airship, the
Graf Zeppelin. Their 15,000-mile-flight lasted 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes and included 13 refueling
stops. The Winnie Mae had slashed more than 11 days off of the previous record.

In 1933, Post set out to fly around the world solo and, using a radio detection finder instead of
a human navigator, he did exactly that. In 1935, the record-setting pilot set off on a flight with his
good friend Will Rogers. The famous humorist had hired Post to fly him around Alaska in search
of new material for his newspaper column. The plane crashed into a lake and both men were killed.

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