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Back in the Day: First man to fly solo around the world

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Back in the Day: First man to fly solo around the world


July 22, 1933: Wiley Post flies around the world. Famed American aviator, Wiley Hardeman Post, came from a humble upbringing in Oklahoma. He began his career in 1924 as a parachutist for a flying circus called, “Burrell Tibbs and His Texas Topnotch Fliers”. Two years later he lost his left eye in an oilfield accident, and he used the settlement money to buy his first aircraft. After making friends in aviation circles he managed to get his hands on a Lockheed Vega called “Winnie Mae” (the same model used by Amelia Earhart to make the first flight across the Atlantic.) In 1931 he set his mind on a round the world trip and with his navigator Harold Gatty, he set a record of 8 days 15 hours and 51 minutes.

After this, Post wanted to open his own flying school, but was unable to raise funds as many looked down on his rural background and limited education. Motivated by his detractors Post set his eye on a solo round the world flight, and spent the next year improving his aircraft, and installing an autopilot device. In 1933 he took off on his pioneering voyage, flying solo around the world. He broke his previous record, taking just 7 days 19 hours, and secured his place in aviation history.

Also on July 22: The first ever motorised racing event is held in France (1894); American gangster John Dillinger is mortally wounded by FBI agents (1934); Dezik (Дезик) and Tsygan (Цыган, “Gypsy”) are the first dogs to make a sub orbital flight (1951)

Born on July 22: William Archibald Spooner (1844), Bob Dole (1923),Terence Stamp (1938), George Clinton (1941), Willem Dafoe (1955), Rhys Ifans (1967)

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