Monthly Archives: March 2009

Anniversary of Wiley Post’s High Altitude Flight

Wiley Post, far left, inspects his pressure suit.

Wiley Post, far left, inspects the pressure suit that he wore during the flight.

On March 15, 1935, Wiley Post flew from Burbank, California, to Cleveland, Ohio, a distance of 2,035 miles, in 7 hours, 19 minutes. At times, the Winnie Mae attained a ground speed of 340 mph, indicating that the airplane was operating in the jet stream. He reached an unoffical altitude of more than 50,000 feet.

The flight was one of Post’s four attempts between February and June, 1935, to fly non-stop from Los Angeles to New York at a high altitude.

Will Rogers Tells How He Feels About Gliders

March 9, 1930
Say, this glider contraption of Lindbergh’s looks like a pretty good racket. He went up yesterday and competed with a buzzard, and the fowl got second money. The competition was going along about even till Lindy lost a wing and didn’t even stop to pick it up. Just kept right on. When the old bird saw that, he got disgusted and withdrew, and went back to his original trade.

Lindy was telling me the other night about these things. He things they have a great future in training men to fly; cost is only three or four thousand dollars. No engine, no gasoline. All you need is a high hill and a strong wind. And a few old boys to yank you out into space. All sounds marvelous, but when I try it it’s going to be inside a room, with the floor lined in feather beds.

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegrams Volume 2, Oklahoma State University Press

Expanded Planetarium Honors Shepard, McAuliffe


The new, 45,000-square-foot McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center opens today with new interactive science exhibits, an expanded gift shop, cafe, and theater space.

The new Discovery Center is a major transformation of the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, built to honor the teacher who died on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission. The new center is also named for Derry, N.H., native Alan Shepard, the first American in space.

Help NASA Name Node 3!

Neat contest underway on the NASA website:

NASA wants your opinion in naming the International Space Station’s Node 3 – a connecting module and its cupola – before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory. The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity– and Node 2- Harmony.
Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the Node 3 components during the STS-130 mission targeted for December 2009.”

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegram – 3/4/1930

Well, Calvin did a mighty fine job of dam dedicating here this afternoon. He made a dam good speech favoring dams. Said he didn’t want to come at first, but that finally “President Hoover asked him to come.” He naturally couldn’t refuse Mr. Hoover for in a few years they might be opening a Hoover dam and he might want to ask Mr. Hoover to go and dedicate it. He dedicated the bridge to religion, a very beautiful thought and appropriate at this very time, for here is Russia with twice our national resources, three times our size, bending every government energy to throttle all religion. All you have to do is look at the two countries and see who’s policy is best.

A peculiar thing about the dam that you may not read in your dispatches  – the dam is built on the lower side of the Apache Indian reservation, and the water is all to be used by the Pima tribe and the whites. In fact, they moved the Apaches out of the very valley where the water is backed up in, and moved them ten miles up above. The only way the Apaches can ever get any good out of the dam is for somebody to invent a way for water to run uphill. And then they wonder why Apaches went wild.

One ceremony reminded me of a blindfolded tobacco ad test. Mr. Coolidge and an Apache chief and a Pima chief all took a whiff from the same pipe. The Indians didn’t bat an eye, but Calvin coughed over a carload’s worth.

The dam will open up 1,000,000 acres of new land, and there is 1,000,000 farmers starving to death all over the country on farms that’s all ready open, so it all depends on where you live, as to how you look at it.

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegrams Volume 2, Oklahoma State University Press

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegram – 3/3/1930

Coolidge and Geronimo Compared by Will Rogers
Going to fly over in Arizona tomorrow to see Mr. Coolidge dedicate the great Coolidge Dam. Arizona had to build the dam way over in the middle of the State to keep California from claiming two-thirds of the water. The Apache Indians are going to make Mr. Coolidge chief of their tribe to replace Geronimo. They had a great deal in common, neither one said much, and Mr. Coolidge, when a big chief, arrived at the same result with a veto that Geronimo did with a tomahawk.
P.S. Am tring to get Lindbergh to take me over in a glider. If he can’t I will have Anne do it.

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegrams, Volume 2, Oklahoma State University Press

Touching the Future…

I was reminded of a story today from my time as a Challenger Learning Center Mission Commander.

Anessa was a recent immigrant from Russia who came to the Buehler Challenger & Science Center for a mission. Her teacher had assigned her to the Navigation station, probably one of the most difficult teams because of the reading required.

A few minutes into the mission, as the rest of the students enthusiastically began their work, Anessa sat alone at her console, a look of discouragement on her face. Her teacher told me that Anessa did not either speak or write English and that she couldn’t get her to do anything.

I went over to Anessa and said, “How would you like to try something different?” I led her over to the Isolation team, and to our robotic arms. She grinned, sat down, and went to work.

As some of the other students struggled with the instructions in their task cards, Anessa went to the controls of the robots like an astronaut with years of training. At the end of the mission, Anessa was glowing, and I was happy for her success.

Touching the future often happens one child at a time.

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegram – 3/2/1930

Will Rogers Not Surprised At Senate Vote-Trading
Not only the week’s biggest laugh but the year’s biggest guffaw come from the United States Senate during the oil lobby hearing. They discovered that Senators were trading oil votes for sugar votes. They were surprised and practically dumbfounded that such a condition could exist. Yes, just about as surprising to everybody who knows politics as it would be to discover that Herbert Hoover was born in the United States, was over 30 years old, and white.

Vote trading got ’em all in the Senate and kept them in there (if the trades were good enough.)

A Senator learns to “swap” his vote at the same age a calf learns which end of his mother is the dining room.”

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegrams, Volume 2, Oklahoma State University Press

Will Rogers’ Daily Telegram – 2/28/1930

Will Rogers’ Tribute to Taft: Seems ‘Like He Was One of Us’
Mr. Taft, what a lovely soul! You know, all our Presidents that this generation knew, some we knew, some we felt we didn’t know, some we admitted for their great ability; some we had great faith in, and all of them to us symbolized the great office they occupied. But just as a man and a real honest-to-God fellow, Mr. Taft will go to his grave with more real downright affection and less enemies than any. He always seemed like he was one of us.

It’s great to be great but it’s greater to be human. He was our great human fellow because there was more of him to be human. We are parting with three hundred pounds of solid charity to everybody, and love and affection for his fellowmen.

– Will Rogers’ Daily Telegrams, Volume 2, Oklahoma State University Press

Note: Taft died on March 8 – not sure why this has a publish date of 2/28. He had retired as Chief Justice on 2/23 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.