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the Will Rogers / Wiley Post Funeral Plane

February 14, 2009

    History is subjective - what you learn depends entirely on the priorities and prejudices of the person who wrote the material you're reading. As a result, some people and events vanish and some get what you may think some day is unwarranted attention. Today I'd like to bring your attention to two people of significance in the world of Northern aviation, one of whom has received little notice and one who has never received any since his death in 1945. It was a photograph of NC14259, a Lockheed Electra, that brought Wiley Post and Joe Morrison together for me.

    I've known about Wiley Post as far back as I can remember, due to the fact that my father, who was an aircraft mechanic during WWII, was a huge fan.

    The definitive account of the crash that killed Post and Rogers is Will Rogers & Wiley Post: Death at Barrow, written by Brian B. Sterling and Frances N. Sterling and published in 1993. Although it has some detail on the aircraft used to carry the bodies from Alaska, even it doesn't record the registration number, which is a significant fact to aviation historians. NC14259, a Lockheed 10C Electra, was operated by Pacific Alaska Airways, a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways.

    The photo of NC14259 seen below was taken as she was being refueled at Whitehorse, Yukon, by Joseph Chauncy "Joe" Morrison, the Whitehorse manager of PAA operations there.

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