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WILEY POST

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Wiley Post after winning the Los Angeles-Chicago race in 9 hours and 7 minutes, at Curtiss Airport near New York, USA, on 25th October 1930.
The American aviator circumvented the world in 1931 faster than anyone else, developed the first pressure suit – and discovered the jet stream.
1898-1935
You could call it determination: Wiley Post’s dream was to have his own aircraft, but as the son of a cotton farmer he didn’t have the means to buy it. Working as a roughneck on a drilling rig in the Oklahoma oil fields, the young Wiley Post had a hard time. He tried everything to raise money, even armed robbery. Post was arrested in 1921 and spent more than a year in prison. He continued his life on the dangerous side, starting off as a parachutist for a flying circus. To earn more, he worked on an oil field, but an accident cost him his left eye. With the settlement money, the later aviator was able to buy his first aircraft.

Working as a personal pilot for a wealthy oilman, he flew a Lockheed Vega, one of the best aircrafts available at the time. On 23rd June 1931, Wiley Post and his navigator Harold Gatty took off from New York to fly around the world, equipped with a Longines chronometer.
After 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes covering a journey of 15,474 miles (24,903 km) they returned on 1st July 1931. The first aerial circumnavigation in a single-engine monoplane was much faster than the previous record held by the Graf Zeppelin, which took 21 days in 1929. Post repeated his flight around the world in 1933, this time alone, equipped with an auto-pilot. He had to repair his auto-pilot three times and replace his propeller, but this time he was faster, returning after 7 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes. He continued his career, specialising in high-altitude long-distance flights. In 1934, Post developed what would become the world’s first usable pressure suit. Wearing this invention, he set the world altitude record at 30,000 ft (9,144 m) and unofficially (his altimeter froze) soared to heights of 49,000 ft (14,935 m) during a test flight. In this high-altitude he discovered the jet stream. The great pioneer died when his plane’s engine failed during take-off in Alaska on 15th August 1935.
Wiley Post (left) and Harold Gatty (right), June 1931, during their stopover at Berlin-Tempelhof, shortly before heading to Moscow.
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