Postcard signed by Will Rogers
|Will Rogers the humorist was fascinated by air travel. He might be described as the world's first Frequent Flyer, flying from coast to coast. A meeting with Charles Lindburgh who was on a goodwill mission to Mexico with Ambassador Dwight Morrow in 1927 served to increase Will's interest in flying.
Rogers frequently traveled by U.S. mail carriers with the air mail pilots and often a stack of mail bags on his lap ... once sticking postage stamps on himself so he could fly as air mail!
Will wrote more and more about the development of aviation in the United States. By describing his experiences as he flew from country to country, he informed those back home of the need for more governmental support for the development of commercial and military aviation. Called the Patron Saint of Aviation, Gen. Dolittle recalled, "he was our only spokesman". He also met other famous aviators including an amusing encounter with Lady Heath.
In 1935, with his old friend, pioneer aviator Wiley Post, Rogers took his final journey. Post was testing a plan on the commercial viability of carrying goods from the U.S. to Asia by flying over Alaska and Siberia and invited Rogers to join him. When they took off from the small Eskimo hunting and fishing camp near Barrow, Alaska the small craft lost power and crashed into a nearby lagoon, killing Rogers and Post instantly.
Rogers was inducted into the "Aviation Hall of Fame" in 1977.