Fearless Wiley Played Hunches
BY Tulsa World
Aug 17, 1935
7/18/12 at 2:07 AM
Wiley Post, his final “hunch” failed him, met death in the manner he had wished.
Resting his fate in his hunches, Post had never showed fear of death. Tulsa friends of the famous airman recalled that in remarking of the danger of flying Post had said: “If I get popped off that’s the way I want to go – doing the things I want to do.”
Post never discussed death, never dwelt on the possibility of accidents in the air.
Recently while planning his stratosphere flights associates remarked that one of the new mechanisms built into his plane would endanger his safety.
“If she’s going to bust let ’er bust,” Post said with a smile, dismissing the subject with that light, brief comment.
His fearlessness was based on the fact that he played his hunches, fellow fliers said. If he believed there was any danger in a flight he would wait until his premonition had passed. But the feeling of luck that sent him on his flight to Alaska was one of fate’s tricks.
While preparing for his stratosphere flights, which were backed by Frank Phillips, Bartlesville oil man, he signed a release absolving Phillips of any blame in event of a crash, friends here recalled.
“Sure, that’s all right,” he is quoted as having said as he signed, “I know it’s dangerous. But if I get popped off that’s the way I want to go. Doing the things I want to do.”
Will Rogers was also fearless in many flights about the notion of an air passenger. He once declined a ride from Dallas to Chicago with a mail plane simply because he would have had to wear a parachute. Instead he chartered a pilot to follow the mail plane.
“We should not break rules and I would have had to have ridden on a parachute if I had flown in the mail plane.” Rogers remarked of the incident. “Picture this farm boy dangling from a parachute. I’ always come in with the plane.”