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Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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Image, right, courtesy of Wiley Apt Collection, New Hampshire.

Information on Lockheed NC108W, the "Winnie Mae" available here.

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The popularity of Wiley Post and the "Winnie Mae" has led to replicas of his airplane here, and at least one museum Vega, NC898E, being painted in the colors of "Winnie Mae." Please direct your browser to the airplane's page to see a video tour of NC898E.

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WILEY HARDEMAN POST

Almost everyone alive and warm in the 20th century knows the name of Wiley Post. During the 1920s and early 1930s he barnstormed, flew in air races, set a round-the-world record in 1931 (with Harold Gatty navigating), and was the first person to fly solo around the world in 1933. He was killed in Alaska in 1935, along with his friend and passenger, popular humorist Will Rogers. Succinct chronologies of Post's life in aviation are available here and here. Please follow this link to see another image of Post with Gatty.

Wiley Post, right; Harold Gatty, center ca. 1931

The airplane he is most associated with is the Lockheed Vega "Winnie Mae" (NC105W). The image above was shared by Wiley Apt, a long time FBO operator in New Hampshire. It shows the "Winnie Mae" with Harold Gatty, center, and Wiley Post, right (sans eye patch), with a police officer on the left for whom the word "lanky" was invented.

The photo was taken in Augusta, ME, date unknown, but probably sometime between 1931 and 1933. This image shows the relatively formal flight uniform of many of the early fliers: coat and tie, albeit somewhat rumpled. I have not seen this image in any of the usual books. It may be an unpublished one. You may be seeing it for the first time here. Anybody know if it has been published anywhere? Or the context for this landing at Augusta?

Wiley Post was a frequent visitor. He landed at Tucson twelve times between November 17, 1928 and February 17, 1931. His origins and destinations for most flights were along the Los Angeles --> El Paso --> Oklahoma axis. Chickasha, OK was cited as his home base for two flights.

About the three "Winnie Mae" Vegas. Interestingly, the first Vega to be named "Winnie Mae", NC7954, was flown to Tucson twice by Post and once by Art Goebel. To see an image of this airplane, please follow this link to the Klein Archive of Aviation Photographs. The second "Winnie Mae", NC/NR105W, whose fuselage is shown above, cannot be definitely indentified as landing at Tucson (but see below). The third "Winnie Mae" did land at Tucson. See NC905Y. It was not flown by Post at this time, however.

Below, an image of Wiley Post with the "real" "Winnie Mae" after his around-the-world solo flight. This photograph is from Bettie Lund's album (she was the wife of the late, at the time of this photo, Freddie Lund), courtesy of Andy Heins.

Wiley Post, Autograph Dated 1933 (Source: Heins)
Wiley Post, Autograph Dated 1933

Clearly, his airplanes of choice were Lockheed Vegas, with eleven of his twelve visits being clearly identified as flown in Lockheeds. One flight, the one with Harold Gatty as passenger, was not identified by aircraft registration number, but was almost certainly the second "Winnie Mae".

His flight to Tucson on March 30, 1930 was noteworthy, because his passenger was Jerry Vultee, who had designed the Vega aircraft they flew in. The (almost) brand new airplane they flew was NC522K, painted white with red/blue trim. It was a Model 3, built August 27, 1929.

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A popular activity by well-known pilots of the era was to sign and sell U.S. postal cachets which commemorated first flights, anniversaries, dedications, etc. As well as the commemoration, it made a few dollars for the pilots. Below, from site visitor Jeff Staines is a U.S. postal cachet commemorating Post and Gatty's round the world flight in 1931.

U.S. Postal Cachet, July 30, 1931 (Source: Staines)
U.S. Postal Cachet, July 30, 1931 (Source: Staines)

I don't know if Post and Gatty made any money on their signatures on this letter, but Mr. Bernet, a well-known philatelist, had a great souvenir. Mr. Staines says about his cachet, it was "... distributed by the 'Newark Star Eagle' commemorating the Wiley Post - Harold Gatty visit to Newark N.J. on July 30, 1931, autographed by both Post and Gatty...."

Below, from Popular Aviation (PA) magazine, October, 1933, is a short biography of Post.

Post Biography, Popular Aviation, October, 1933 (Source: PA)

 

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Dossier 2.1.21

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/09/06 REVISED: 09/29/07, 10/17/07, 04/16/08, 03/14/11, 06/25/14

 
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I'm looking for photographs of pilot Post to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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