The Final Post

ted-strutz-plane

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

This will make great story that the folk back East will eat up.  Famed aviator lost on the north pole.

Shut up, Will, I don’t need your wit now, I need your eyes.

Sure thing, Wiley.

There’s a good size settlement on that lagoon.  We’ll put her down her and get directions.  We’ll be off in no time and to Point Barrow before you know it, just watch.

You can’t just find it on the map and figure out our position?  Do we have to land?  Or do you call it “watering” in a seaplane, not “landing”?

We’ll be fine.

***

On August 15, 1935, humorist, vaudeville actor, movie star, newspaper columnist and perhaps the most famous entertainer of his day, Will Rogers, was flying with famed aviator Wiley Post between Fairbanks and Point Barrow, Alaska.  They put the seaplane down just 20 miles south of their destination to ask directions.  The plane fell nose down just after takeoff, instantly killing both men.

***

Word count = 100 (not including history lesson.)

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Ted Strutz.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

 

73 thoughts on “The Final Post

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I’m not a great flyer either and most likely would opt out of going on an arctic adventure in a small two seat experimental plane, even if the pilot was the famous guy who was the first to circle the globe solo. Thanks.

      Like

      Reply
  1. Pingback: Ten Really Good Titles | The Diligent Dilettante

  2. Abhijit Ray

    It is good that Will has his wits even when in a difficult situation. Hope he and his partner find their position on the map or ask someone from the settlement. No shame taking help when lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      No shame at all. The problem is, you missed the little paragraph afterwards that had the history lesson – Will Rogers was perhaps the most famous American of his day. After stopping for directions, the plane crashed on takeoff killing both of them instantly.

      Like

      Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      From what I’ve read he was one the very biggest celebrities of the day. Very talented. Yes, some of his political comments are still relevant, but more than that, we need someone like him – someone able to tell political jokes and not overly offend anyone from any side.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Nope, no mention of it. Actually, this was one of the most argued about aviation accident of all times since Wiley Post was consider one of the best pilots of the day, if not the best – he was the first to solo around the world. Remember, this was 1935, they were in a tiny, experimental plane flying over a totally featureless ice plain on Alaska’s north coast (Pt. Barrow is far out on a peninsula, the farthest north point in the US – the crash site is 11 miles from town) – no hills, no trees and no towns. They hit fog with almost zero visibility and couldn’t see the ground. A hole opened, so they dropped sown and found a native village to ask directions.. Nobody argues about why they made the unscheduled stop, they argue about why the engine died on take off and why the plane didn’t just glide back down when it did but immediately went into a nose dive. Anyway, Jim Beam or not, it was very sad.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. trentpmcd Post author

          No worries. I’m in the aviation industry (sort of…) and had a boss who was supposed to be a great pilot but in a split second of bad judgement did something stupid and died. You don’t take chances when you are close to the ground….

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  3. Nobbinmaug

    That’s a cool little story. Despite the tragic ending, it’s pretty funny. I’ve never heard of anyone landing a plane to ask directions. I’ve heard of Will Rogers but know literally nothing about him. Now, I know that he’s dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Because of who Will was, I had to try to put a little humor in there… Back in 1935 in the very northern reaches of Alaska, I’m sure there weren’t too many planes flying – so not just landing to ask for directions, but asking for those directions from people who may have never seen an airplane before! Glad you liked the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I knew because I lived in OKC when I was starting with the FAA (that’s where they train controllers) and because of a play I once saw. I recently looked him up because of a quote (I don’t belong to an organized political party ;) ) and had just recently read the details again, so not a big leap from the prompt. I’m glad you learned something new. Thanks.

      Like

      Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. It is interesting, if sad. Oklahoma City has two airports – the main commercial one is named after Will Rogers, the main general aviation one after Wiley Post…

      Like

      Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. I think we all have to have a go at one of those Rochelle influenced historic stories. It was a very tragic end. Interesting that Oklahoma City has airports named after the two men.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. ceayr

        In French there is also ‘apponter’, to land on a deck, and ‘alunir’, to land on the moon.
        In English we say ‘ditch’ for a forced landing on water.
        ‘Alight’ seems to me to add to the confusion, as we alight from a plane, preferably onto land!
        I will now stop messing with your head and your blog.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply

Express Yourself

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s