Skip to content

Search the Roberta Bondar Site

One Eye? No Problem!

On July 22, 1898, American aviator Wiley Hardeman Post was born.

Wiley achieved his fame in what is often called the “Golden Age” of air racing, the 1930’s. First it was his win at the National Air Race Derby, from Los Angeles to Chicago. Next, it was his world flight with Australian ace navigator-pilot Harold Gatty – around the world in 8 days and 16 hours making 14-stops for fuel, food, and rest. A New York City ticker tape parade welcomed them home.

But Post wanted to do it alone! Convinced he could mange it, he installed an early version of a Sperry autopilot and a radio direction-finder/compass that could zero in in on specific radio stations. Two years later, Post flew around the world solo in 7 days and 19 hours. He made 11 stops that included repairs to the autopilot, propeller, and landing gear. Post returned home to his second New York City ticker tape parade!

Aviation pioneer Wiley Post in USPS commemorative stamps.
Aviation pioneer Wiley Post in USPS commemorative stamps.

What an awesome legacy for a man who had not been a good student in school, stole a car and served a year in jail, and lost an eye in an accident working on an oil rig. He overcame his early challenges when he fell so in love with airplanes that he eventually could design and make his own modifications to them. What Wiley Post could do was fly an airplane. At altitude. Over great distances.

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage