In 1930, Wiley Post flew his plane, the Winnie Mae, from Los Angeles to Chicago in just over 9 hours to win the National Air Race Derby. The plane is now on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
In 1931, Post was the first to fly around the world which he did in eight days, 16 hours along with Harold Gatty, his navigator. A few years later, in 1933, Post beat his own time with a solo flight around the world that took him seven days, 19 hours.
Post also flew the Winnie Mae into the stratosphere, another first for aircraft at that time. To enable him to breathe while flying at the extreme altitudes, he designed and manufactured a pressure suit that provided him with oxygen.
Post later acquired a new airplane, one that was built from parts of two different aircraft; the wings from a Lockheed Explorer, and the fuselage from a Lockheed Orion. The floats he used were too large for the aircraft, which made it difficult to control. While flying near Point Barrow, Alaska in deteriorating weather conditions, the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Both Post and his passenger, the famous columnist Will Rogers, were killed.