American pilot Wiley Post, left, became the first person to fly around the world solo in 1933. With Post is navigator Harold Gatty.

Photograph courtesy the German Federal Archive, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
  • On July 22, 1933, American aviator Wiley Post became the first person to fly around the world by himself. He went nearly 25,105 kilometers (15,600 miles) in a little more than a week. He started his flight on July 15, and flew from New York City to Germany, the Soviet Union, Alaska, and Canada.

    Post’s plane, the Winnie Mae, had two instruments that helped him fly without a navigator: a gyroscope and a radio direction finder. The gyroscope, which helps pilots measure orientation, alerted Post if the plane went slightly off course. The radio direction finder helped Post find radio transmitters so he could communicate with people during the entire flight.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    instrument Noun


    navigator Noun

    person who charts a course or path.

    orientation Noun

    an object or person's position in relation to true north.

    radio Noun

    wireless transmission based on electromagnetic waves.