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Wiley H. Post

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Wiley Post is generally remembered for his round-the-world record flights in the early 1930s in a single-engine Lockheed Vega aircraft, the Winnie Mae. Post made his first round-the-world flight on June 23-July 1, 1931, accompanied by Harold Gatty as navigator. Their account of the trip was published as "Around the World in Eight Days." Post achieved his solo record two years later on July 15-22, 1933. He covered a total of 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours, 49 minutes. On this flight, Post proved the value of navigation instruments, including the automatic pilot. Post's more signifi- cant contribution to the advancement of aviation, however, was his subsequent research in sustained high altitude flight and the development of the forerunner of the modern pressure suit. As a result of experience gained from his round-the- world flights, Post was convinced the future of long range flying was at altitudes of 30,000 feet or higher. This put the airplane above most adverse weather conditions, where strong winds existed. By many trial and error engineering modifications, he was able to significantly improve the high altitude performance of the Winnie Mae. With the use of a pressure suit designed to his requirements, he was eventually able to operate the Vega successfully at 40,000 feet. Thus, Wiley Post was a true pioneer in sustained high altitude flying and, at the time of his death in 1935, he had more flying time above 30,000 feet than all other pilots combined.
Inducted in 1997.
Portrait Location: Near R-44 and B-5 Brougham

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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