1898 - 1935
First To Fly Solo Around The World, 1933

Wiley Post and the "Winnie Mae"
Between July 15 and 22, 1933, Wiley Post made the first successful solo flight around the world in an airplane named the "Winnie Mae". The single engine Lockheed Vega was equipped with a Sperry automatic pilot, a radio direction finder, and other new devices. The flight covered 15,596 miles in seven days, eighteen hours forty-nine minutes and was perhaps the most remarkable display of flying endurance of the decade.

Earlier in 1931, ex-barnstormer Post and navigator Harold Gatty had thrilled the nation by dashing around the world in the Winnie Mae. The flight was not only a great technical achievement, but one which demanded extraordinary fortitude. For over one hundred and six hours, neither Post nor Gatty had an opportunity to sleep. The flight's elapsed time of eight days, fifteen hours and fifty-one minutes far surpassed the previous record of twenty-one days set in 1929 by the airship "Graf Zeppelin."

Post was considered one of the most colorful figures of early aviation. He set many records before being tragically killed near Point Barrow, Alaska in 1935 in a crash which also took the life of his flying companion, humorist Will Rogers. His aerial achievements proved that shrinking the globe was as much a test of human endurance as a display of technological progress.