Claremore Daily Progress

August 20, 2013

Fly-In: Annual event deemed success

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter


Hundreds of spectators gathered during the Will Rogers and Wiley Post Annual Fly-In Sunday at the Will Rogers Memorial Ranch.
Attendees were able to see vintage aircraft from World War I and II fighters to bi-planes, helicopters and more. Nearly 70 small aircraft flew in and landed on the 2,000 ft-long grass runway adjacent to the birthplace ranch. 
Last Thursday marked 78 years since Rogers and Post were killed in a plane crash near the town of Barrow, Alaska. 
The event celebrated both Rogers’ and Post’s love and contributions to aviation. Rogers’ great-great-grandson, Mason Etcheverry, piloted a plane accompanied by his grandfather Kem Rogers, who serves on the Will Rogers Memorial Commission.
Etcheverry, who lives in California, earned his pilot’s license about a year ago and decided to participate in the fly-in after his mother brought up the idea. Etcheverry said to land on the same strip that Rogers once did was a “cool” experience and was glad to be able to fly with his grandpa.
Attendees were able to visit with pilots and take pictures with Will Rogers (Lester Lurk) and Wiley Post (Joe Bacon). 
Free tours of Rogers’ birthplace and ranch were also provided to the public.
The annual fly-in in 2012  marked the largest amount of planes in event history, with more than 90 aircraft participating from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.