Wiley Post and Lockheed 5C Vega Winnie Mae. Photo: The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History files.

MIAMI – Today in Aviation marks the 83rd anniversary of the first solo flight around the world. Wiley Post accomplished the historic feat on July 22, 1933.

The American pilot gained fame two years earlier when he flew around the northern part of the globe with aviator Harold Gatty on a Lockheed Vega aircraft.

Wiley Post: Setting Long-Distance Records in the Winnie Mae. Video: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

New Record Around The World for An Airplane

Hugo Eckener piloted the airship LZ 127, Graf Zeppelin, to set the record for the first flight around the earth in 21 days in 1930.

The next year, Wiley Post decided to break the mark alongside Australian pilot Harold Gatty. Both departed from Roosevelt Field in New York on June 23 on a Lockheed Vega 5C.

With various stop-overs, Post and Gatty completed the flight in just eight days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes on July 1. The single-engined monoplane traveled 15,474 miles.

Wiley Post and Australian navigator, Harold Gatty at a parade in their honor.
Photo: Brooklyn Based.

First Solo Flight Around The World

Two years later, Wiley Post set a milestone, this time alone, and using the auto-pilot and compass.

On July 15, the pilot departed on a Lockheed Vega aircraft from Floyd Bennett Field in New York. The first stop was Berlin as Post needed to repair his autopilot.

Then, due to technical reasons, Kaliningrad and Russian territories followed in Post’s route. Finally, after seven days, 18 hours and 49 minutes, he made his second flight around the world.

The Vega 5C ultimately broke another record in by flying 15,596 miles in the first solo flight around the world.

This global voyage not only marked a new time record but was also the first time that an aviator accomplished such a feat.

Wiley Post poses with Willie Mae, the plane in which he completed the first solo flight around the world. Photo: Brooklyn Based.

Lockheed Vega Airplane, A Record Breaker

The Lockeed Vega first flew in 1927, but it became famous thanks to the milestones that it achieved in its mileage.

The aircraft is known as Winnie Mae. The name corresponds to the daughter of F. C. Hall, who is the original owner of the Vega and a friend of Post.

Beyond Post’s solo flight, the aircraft also set a record when Amelia Earhart became the first woman aviator to make a nonstop solo transatlantic flight on a Vega 5B.

Lockheed 5C Vega Winnie Mae at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum. Photo: The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History files.

Lockheed Vega: A Milestone for Women in Aviation

In 1932, Amelia Earhart piloted a variant of the Vega, Lockheed Vega 5B, for 14 hours and 56 minutes. In 29,000 miles, she accomplished a new feat in aviation.

Today, Post’s Vega 5C is on a static display at the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia.

On its part, Earhart’s Vega 5B is on static display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.