About the author:
Robb Lightfoot is an author, educator, and humorist who has published more than seven books and is currently working on biographies of Wiley Post and Will Rogers.
Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the Funny Times. His short stories have won honorable mentions, including the Erma Bombeck Humor writing competition.
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The link below is much more detailed. Worth reading.
Good news on the humor-writing front. I received an honorable Mention in this year’s #Erma #Bombeck Writing Competition. Here’s the link to my entry. http://bit.ly/RobbBombeckEntroy. The contest had a humor and a human-interest category. This piece, about memories of my mother, is a bit more reflective than flat-out silly. So, I opted for the human interest category.
I’m going to attend the 2020 Erma Bombeck Conference in Dayton, and I’m looking forward to meeting the judges and winners during the awards ceremony. I’ll be there in early April, and I’ll be giving you all a rundown on the event.
Yes Wiley Post was the first #pilot to fly around the world in only eight days. But the reason he pulled this off was because of his #navigator, Harold Gatty. Gatty was almost killed on the flight, but more on that in a bit.
Harold Gatty was known and respected by the fliers of his day. Humorist Will Roger’s once praised Gatty as a man who could ““take a $1.00 Ingersoll watch, a Woolworth compass, and a lantern, and at twelve o’clock at night tell you just how many miles the American farmer is away from the poor house.”
I’ve been collecting Gatty’s books, and they are amazing. There’s one, a rare and hard-to-come-by volume called “the Raft Book” that was written to help people who had to abandon ship or jump out of an airplane figure out just where they are. The book opens with Gatty talking in glowing terms about how the Polynesians were able to use the stars and their knowledge of animals to know where they were.
It’s a great read.
Gatty wrote similar books that are easier to come by and fun to read. He was able to use the most sophisticated navigational instruments of his day, but he also believed that the skill of knowing just where you were with the simplest of tools was possible and highly desirable.So, your assignment for this weeks is to find one of Gatty’s books and read it. You won’t be sorry.
And about him almost being killed…. Well, the plane that made that 8-day flight, the Winnie Mae, didn’t have an electric starter. The propeller had to be manually spun, and that was part of Gatty’s job. But in Alaska, when they were only a few thousand miles from home, the engine backfired during a start-up, and smacked Gatty to the ground, seriously injuring him. He made the rest of the trip in terrible pain. But did his job even so.
A real hero in my book, and it’s a shame he’s not a house-hold name. His books probably saved many people’s lives. And he got Wiley home safe, too.
Read more about Gatty in Penenberg, Adam L.. Sky Rivals: Two Men. Two Planes. An Epic Race Around the World. Wayzgoose Press. Kindle Edition.
It’s amazing how quickly the public lost interest in Wiley Post’s first round-the-world flight.
Within weeks of he flight, money became a huge problam.
Post tried to support his flying with appearances and a tour after his flight, but 1931 was during some of the worst of the Depression, and despite the guarantee of speaking fees of $15,000 for his post-flight, national tour, he saw less than half this amount.
Yet during this time, Amelia Earhart was able to sustain herself through savvy marketing, such as her clothing line, and Charles Lindberg had merchandising arrangements that netted him big money during these lean times. But Post was left scrambling.
Part of the problem was that Post and his Aussie Navigator, Harold Gatty, didn’t like talking to the press. They had brief answers, nods, and shrugs. This was in stark contrast to the efforts of Amelia Earhart, who was charming and had a full-time publicist in the form of her husband.
To make matters worse, Post had a falling out with his principal sponsor, the owner of his plane, and demanded that the oilman, FW Hall, sell him the Winne Mae. Post was able to buy the plane, but then had very little money to fly it.
Not a happy time, but it forced Post to come up with an even more daring scheme.
More on that in a bit. #aviation #competitions #aviators