By: Pat Reeder | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: August 2018
The Will Rogers & Wiley Post fly-in features between 100 and 150 planes and activities for the whole family.
Celebrate aviation in the heartland with pilots landing on the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch airstrip, adjacent to the house where Will was born Nov. 4, 1879. The Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In marks the 83rd anniversary of the Aug. 15, 1935 Alaska crash that claimed the lives of the world’s most noted aviation enthusiasts of their time.
Vintage aircraft, World War I fighters, experimentals, bi-planes, helicopters and more will swoop down on the 2,000-foot grass strip starting early on Saturday, Aug. 11. Gates open at 7:30 a.m., planes start landing early. Pilots will be on hand to visit with spectators and showcase their planes. Owners of antique and classic cars and motorcycles will join them.
There is ample parking and admission is free. Spectators enter at at 9501 E. 380 Road, Oologah (access from Highway 88 on 4110 Road or Highway 169 on 380 Road).
Bring your own lawn chair and watch pilots from four or five states come in over Oologah Lake and from all directions to land. Then walk along the landing strip and visit with pilots as the showcase their planes.
Landings are highlighted by an appearance of Will and Wiley about 9:30 a.m. as a patch-wearing Wiley pilots Will to the front gate. Lester Lurk, who has a great resemblance to Will, comes each year from St. Genevieve, Mo., especially to the delight of children at the event. Piloting Will are Joe Bacon of Pryor and Tom Egbert of Claremore.
A special moment of remembrance will be observed at 10 a.m. (live streamed starting at 9:55 a.m. on Facebook, link at www.willrogers.com). Special tribute will be paid to Dr. Bill Kinsinger of Edmond, who departed Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City-Edmond in January on an animal rescue mission of Pilots N Paws to Georgetown, Texas, but never reached his destination. After being spotted on radar over the Gulf of Mexico, it was reported by searchers, “The pilot was slouched over and appeared unconscious.” Members of Dr. Kinsinger’s family are expected to be on hand to receive a lapel pin designed especially to honor pilots killed in small plane crashes.
There will be food concessions, Cherokee story telling by Robert Lewis and kids zone activities as well as visits to Will’s birthplace.
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