This month the Wiley Post Commission will present Jon Johanson with the Wiley Post Spirit Award.
Johanson, a nurse and midwife from Australia, is the first international award recipient. His accomplishments include being the first person to fly solo over the South Pole in a single-engine aircraft and the first person to circumnavigate the world solo three times in a homebuilt aircraft.
“The Wiley Post Spirit Award was created to recognize an individual in general aviation who best exemplifies the innovative and pioneering spirit of Wiley Post,” said Bob Kemper, executive director of the Wiley Post Commission, which is based in Oklahoma City. “In particular, we want to recognize someone who hasn’t had the financial support of either the government or of a large corporate backer, but has dedicated their own time, money and hard work to further advance the field of general aviation. Johanson fits these criteria perfectly.”
Johanson built a Van’s RV-4 aircraft. When he set his mind on long distance flying, he realized the plane’s limitations and made the necessary modifications to accomplish his goals. Although many critics, including aeronautical engineers, told him it would be impossible, Johanson has persevered to set multiple world records.
Johanson is the third recipient of the award. Past recipients include Andy Keech of Washington, D.C., and Cheryl Stearns of North Carolina.
In 1931, Wiley Post and his Australian navigator Harold Gatty flew around the world in a record time of eight days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. In 1933, Post became the first person to make a solo around the world flight.
Know someone who exemplifies Post’s spirit? You can nominate him or her for next year’s award by calling 405-789-0005 or going to