"...And Hang on Like Hell!"

by Mike Boss
Casein and Gouache on Rag Board
14" X 26"
From A Private Collection

In early grade school, my life was filled with stories of Amelia Earhart, Eddie Rickenbacker
and that wonderful loose cannon, Wiley Post.看看Over the decades Wiley Post and his world flights never exited my brain.看

Sometime back, I was re-reading Around the World in Eight Days,看a book co-authored by Post and his 'round-the-world-flight navigator, Harold Gatty.看 Written in 1931, it看documented their flight from day to day and the ups and downs incurred along the way.

Winnie Mae, a Lockheed Vega, christened after the owner F.C. Hall's daughter, left New York on 23 JE, 1931.看 Over the eight day flight, landings were to be made看in Newfoundland, Berlin, and Moscow.看 Then began the long flight across Russia and an overflight of Manchuria.看 One of the stops to be made was a city in eastern Russia, Blagoveschensk on the Amur River.

Nearing Blagoveschensk, daylight was fading看and the landing field, outlined with oil lamps, was very difficult to find.看 Gatty spotted the runway and it appeared as glass from an all day rain.看 Realizing the field might be muddy, Post said to Gatty to get as far back in the fuselage as possible. "And hang on like hell!"看 Sure enough the Winnie Mae sank into the mud.

Early the next day, Russian soldiers, two Danish telegraph company men看and two horses exerted much effort to try看and extricate看the Winnie Mae看from of the mud.看 It was a no go. Five hours later, the ground had dried enough for the two to head east.看 The painting was done with the first effort in mind.看 A small, almost tounge-in-cheek看honor for two childhood heroes.