Famed Aviator Remembered During Native American History Month

PEACHTREE CITY, USA – November is Native American History Month, where we explore the heritage, culture, experience, and contributions of America’s Indigenous peoples. Aventure would like to take this opportunity to highlight famed aviator, Wiley Post.

Born November 22, 1898, Wiley Hardeman Post was a Native American aviator of Cherokee descent, and the first pilot to fly solo around the world. Also known for his work in high-altitude flying, Post discovered the jet stream and helped develop one of the first pressure suits.

Accompanied by navigator Harold Gatty, Post made his first around-the-world flight from June 23 to July 1, 1931, in the Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae (now part of the Smithsonian Institution). Two years later, again piloting the Winnie Mae, Post achieved his solo record, covering 15,596 miles in just under 7 days and 19 hours. 

On this flight he proved the value of navigational instruments, including the automatic pilot. He later went on to establish altitude records, wearing a pressure suit of his own design to survive the high-altitude conditions.

On August 15, 1935, Post and close friend Will Rogers, the American humorist and popular culture icon, were killed when Post’s aircraft crashed near Point Barrow in Alaska. With the exception of Charles Lindbergh, no American aviator of the time was as celebrated as Post. The combined loss was devastating to the American public, and the nation entered a state of mourning rarely done outside of the death of presidents.

Three men and a boy on top of and in front of a sea plane in 1935
Wiley Post (L) and Harold Gatty in front of the Winnie Mae, July 1931.