Oklahoma City and aviation go hand-in-hand. If you are new to OKC you might not fully appreciate how important the industry is to our current economy and our state’s history.
You can’t talk about aviation in the Sooner State without first mentioning Wiley Post. First of all Post had an eye patch; that alone made him 72 percent cooler than he already was. Eye patch aside, Post first made headlines in 1931 when he and his navigator broke the record by flying around the world in just eight days (hey, it was 1931). This accomplishment made Post a national celebrity (on par with Charles Lindbergh). He had dinner at the White House and his own ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Post decided to one-up himself in 1933 when he became the first person to fly solo around the world. More than 50,000 spectators greeted him when he completed his trip - and he got his second ticker tape parade in NYC.
For most people, that would be enough accomplishment for a lifetime, but not for Mr. Post. He also developed one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream (all while wearing an amazing eye patch).
Today aviation is one of the key drivers of our region’s economy. It supports more than 85,000 workers and the production of $7.3 billion in goods and services in Oklahoma City alone. On a state level, aviation is Oklahoma’s top foreign export and accounts for a staggering 10 percent of our state’s economy. Oklahoma is one of the top 10 states nationally in traditional aerospace employment.