Last Farewell of
Will Rogers and Wiley Post
to enlarge |Artist: Mike
Sponsor: The Paul & Helen
Sisk Charitable Trust
Size: 40" x 30"
Type: Oil on Canvas
Location: Outside Senate
Will Rogers and Wiley Post bid
farewell to a small crowd gathered at Fairbanks, Alaska,
on August 15, 1935. They would perish in an airplane crash
later that day.
Post modified a hybrid Lockheed
Orion/Explorer specifically for the trip to Russia by adding
pontoons for water landings. The pair departed Seattle
for Juneau on August 7, 1935, two days after the test flight
of the modified airplane. On August 9, they left for Aklavik,
where sightseeing and weather kept them until August 12.
They then journeyed on to Fairbanks.On August 15, Post and Rogers
departed Fairbanks for Point Barrow. Eskimo seal hunters
saw the red Lockheed fly low over their village and land
in a nearby lagoon. Once on the ground, Post asked the direction
to Point Barrow and one of the hunters pointed north across
the featureless tundra. Post tinkered with the engine for
a few minutes and Rogers chatted with the Eskimos. Then they
started the engine, taxied across the river and took off
in a steep, climbing turn. About fifty feet up, the engine
seemed to stop cold, the plane faltered, dragged a wing in
the water and crashed on its back.
Two of Oklahoma’s favorite
sons lost their lives in the shallow water beside the Arctic
Images are copyright
of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund,
Inc. and the artist. Please contact Sandra Shelton at 521-5663
or firstname.lastname@example.org for
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