Post, Wiley Hardeman (1898–1935)
Post rose to national prominence on Aug. 27, 1930, after winning the National Air Race Derby, from Los Angeles to Chicago, having covered the course in a record time of 9 hours 9 minutes and 4 seconds in his plane the Winnia Mae, a special Lockheed Model 5C Vega. The following year, he made his first round-the-world with navigator Harold Getty in 8 days 15 hours 51 minutes. Two years later, on his second round-the-world flight, Post flew solo, landing at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. after a trip lasting 7 days 18 hours 49 minutes – almost a day faster than his original flight.
In order to be able to test the ability of aircraft to fly in the jet stream, high up in the stratosphere, Post devised a pressure suit that could would allow him to survive and function for long periods at high altitudes. Post's suit was the precursor to today's spacesuits and modern pressure suits. On Mar. 15, 1935, Post flew from Burbank, California, to Cleveland, a distance of 2,035 miles in 7 hours 19 minutes. The Winnie Mae, his beloved aircraft had attained ground speeds of 340 mph. During this trip, Post had sailed the jet stream and survived.
Post died, along with American humorist Will Rogers, in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, on Aug. 15, 1935. He was one of three great American air adventurers during the 1930s, the others being Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.
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