Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In set for Aug. 15 in Oologah
Spectators at the annual Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In watch a plane land on a grass airstrip next to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch near Oologah. The 85th anniversary of the death of Rogers and pilot Wiley Post will be commemorated at this year’s fly-in on Aug. 15. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
OOLOGAH – The annual Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In is set for Aug. 15 and will mark 85 years to the day since Rogers and Post died in an Alaska plane crash.
To honor their memory, pilots of more than 125 small planes will land on a 2,000-foot grass strip at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, beginning at 7:30 a.m. adjacent to the house where Rogers was born on Nov. 4, 1879.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Attendees are being asked to social distance and wear masks. Because the event is outdoors, there will be plenty of room for social distancing.
The fly-in is one of the largest in Oklahoma and is a special opportunity for the public to get an up-close look at vintage and late-model small aircraft and visit with pilots. Pilots come from a four-state area to showcase their planes and renew friendships from previous years. Living history actors “Will” and “Wiley” will also be a part of the festivities. People are encouraged to arrive early to see the first planes land.
The Cherokee Nation is sponsoring the fly-in. Vintage aircraft, World War I fighters, experimental planes, bi-planes, helicopters and fly-overs are all part of the event as well as food and concessions, antique and classic cars, a Cherokee storyteller and kids’ activities. People are free to walk up close to the planes and visit with pilots.
On Aug. 15, 1935, Will Rogers and Wiley Post were flying over Alaska to survey routes between the United States and Russia. Unsure of their location, the men landed in a lagoon in Point Barrow and then took off again after getting directions. Just after taking off again, the experimental plane equipped with pontoons crashed back into the lagoon, instantly killing Rogers and Post. Rogers was 55 years old and Post 36.
The birthplace ranch is located at 9501 E. 380 Road in Oologah next to Oologah Lake. There will be ample parking. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
For information, visit www.willrogers.com