Even though it happened 80 years ago, how many were old enough to have seen and remembered Wiley Post’s first solo flight around the world?
By: Ringo Bones
I wondered how many people ever tried a solo around the world flight with all the attendant dangers of sleep deprivation while flying a plane. But 80 years ago, an adventuring aviation pioneer named Wiley Post did the impossible and managed to circumnavigate the globe while flying all alone on his modified stripped-down plane. And I, too, now wonder if other folks will be remembering the 80th Anniversary of Wiley Post’s solo flight around the world?
Back in July 1933, Wiley Post, piloting a modified and stripped-down Lockheed Vega monoplane named the Winnie Mae, completed the very first solo flight around the world. Landing only 11 times, he completed the 15,596-mile trip; starting and finishing at New York in just seven days and 18 hours. One of the other “newfangled” gears that made Wiley Post’s solo round the world flight was the autopilot. An early version of the aircraft autopilot system was developed by the Sperry Gyroscope Company where one of the early prototypes was used by Post in his solo flight around the world in 1933.
Even though in aviation – as in being an airplane pilot – is where binocularity, or two-eyed vision, would seem to be indispensible; Wiley Post, the famous airplane pilot of the 1930s whose signature white eye patch over his left eye was almost a trademark, was such a rare exception. Though he might not be able to appreciate it if someone made a biopic about him in 3-D!
Another thing which will be forever be remembered of Wiley Post was his custom pressure suit which was developed by B.F. Goodrich back in 1934 which was to protect Post under near space conditions when he sought to break an airplane altitude record of 47,352 feet. Strangely, the B.F. Goodrich’s Wiley Post pressure suit was eventually used in the movie Man From Mars a few years later.