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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Military roots

KC-46A refueling

If you’re new to the 4-0-5 (and even if you’re not,) you may not realize how significant a part of our history and culture the military has in OKC. Sure, you see those big ole airplanes with the flying saucer-looking thingees on top of them and you hear a local car dealer claiming to be located across from “where the big birds fly”, but what in the name of Wiley Post are they talking about??

What better time to clear the air (see what I did there?) about OKC and the history we share with the military than right before Veterans Day – Monday, Nov. 11.

That reference to “where the big birds fly” is Tinker Air Force Base, home of the U.S. Air Force Sustainment Center, the world’s largest military maintenance, repair and overhaul facility. The genesis of the installation came in late 1940 as World War II enveloped Europe and after key Oklahoma City entrepreneurs formed the Oklahoma Industries Foundation. The civic leaders, led by Edward K. Gaylord, Wilbur E. Hightower, Tom Braniff, Frank Buttram, and Stanley Draper, learned that the War Department was looking for an appropriate site to build an aircraft maintenance depot in the American Midwest. They acquired 960 acres and offered the land to the government at no cost. While holding the option on another 480 acres, they promised to provide necessary utilities, roads, and a rail spur to the airfield.

Named in honor of Oklahoma native, Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American major general, the base – originally called the Midwest Air Depot – was formally activated in 1941 as the site that produced approximately half of all C-47 transport aircraft used in WWII.

The base today performs maintenance on such U.S. Air Force aircraft as the KC-135, B-1B, B-52 and E-3 (also known as the AWACS, the airplane with the “flying saucer” on its top), and the Navy’s E-6.

aviation, history, holiday, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Celebrating history

45th Infantry Division Museum

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

aviation, free, history, military, museums, parks, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Nonstop options

Will Rogers World Airport Terminal

As much as we love Oklahoma City, we know that sometimes you need to stretch your legs and do some exploring. The good news is jet setting out of the 4-0-5 has never been easier with new nonstop destinations from Will Rogers World Airport.

By this summer, you will be able to fly nonstop to 28 airports across the U.S. out of OKC. But keep your eyes peeled because the airport is aggressive in trying to add new flights that cater to the metro’s leisure and business travelers. Last fall, Frontier Airlines began offering direct flights to Denver and Orlando. The low-cost carrier will offer flights to San Diego beginning in April.

Most recently, ViaAir announced direct flights to Austin and American Airlines announced they will begin service to Philadelphia starting this June.

It appears people are taking notice of the expanded service as Will Rogers World Airport announced 2017 was its busiest year yet with nearly four million passengers flying in and out of the airport.

The improvements at the airport are not just limited to new flights, however. Will Rogers World Airport will soon begin a $90 million expansion. The expansion will include more gates and security checkpoints.  

aviation, community
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Aviation giant

Our love of aerospace and aviation isn’t really a new phenomenon – it’s as big a part of our Oklahoma DNA as football or the land run.  While Oklahoma has had many famous pilots they all trace back to Oklahoma native Wiley Post. Post became an international superstar when he made the first solo flight around the world in 1933. Post also developed the first pressure suit,  allowing him to fly his famous plane, the Winnie Mae, into the stratosphere.

What some people don’t know about Post is the he didn’t begin his aviation career as a pilot. He actually started out as a parachutist in a flying circus! An oilfield injury that caused him to lose his left eye, but gave him a rad eye patch, brought an $1,800 settlement that he used to buy his first plane.

To honor the aviation giant, Oklahoma City named an airport in NW Oklahoma City in recognition.

aerospace, aviation, history, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tinker Turns 75

If you have spent any time at all reading our blog then you know we tend to talk about Tinker Air Force Base a lot. Well we have good reason too. Not only is Tinker critical in the defense of our country, but it is one of the biggest economic drivers in our state. More than 26,000 employees got to work at Tinker every day and the base contributes more than $3 billion to the local economy annually.

This year Tinker celebrates its 75th anniversary. The year will be filled with fun activities to celebrate the monumental anniversary culminating in an Air Force Ball on Sept. 16.

This a chance to not only celebrate the crucial work being done at Tinker but also 75 years of deep commitment between the Air Force and our community. So check out the schedule, get to an event (or two) and celebrate Tinker’s 75 years in our city as we look forward to even more success for the base in the future.

aviation, employment, jobs, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Take flight in OKC

Tinker

If you are new to OKC, you might not fully appreciate how important the aerospace industry is to our current economy.

Most people will recognize the major players in Oklahoma City’s aerospace industry, like the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base and its partnerships with private companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to operate the largest aircraft and jet engine repair center in the U.S. Another star performer is the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, whose 5,500 employees provide aviation training and logistics support to the nation’s aerospace system. And Oklahoma City’s educational institutions in the region have close and frequent interaction with these industry professionals, laying the foundation for further growth.

Will Rogers World Airport is another hub of Greater Oklahoma City's aviation industry is with approximately 10,000 employees and 67 tenants. More than 3.7 million travels pass through our airport every year. Most recently, the airport announced three new restaurants coming to the airport including local favorites Tucker’s Onion Burgers and Coolgreens.

All of these factors combine to make aerospace 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.

aerospace, aviation, restaurants, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Making a mark on aviation history

While the Wright brothers may not have hailed from Oklahoma, plenty of other aviation pioneers did, allowing our state to leave an indelible mark on the industry’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

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). In 1933, he became the first person to fly solo around the world. 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.

Another Oklahoma aviation and military pioneer is Major Gen. Clarence Tinker, who was born in Osage Nation near Pawhuska, Okla., in 1887. He began his distinguished military service in 1912, when he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he rose in rank to major, and in 1919 he was transferred to the place where he would spend the bulk of his career, the Air Corps.

After rising through the ranks, he was named Commander of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, Tinker was promoted to major general, becoming the first Native American to reach that rank and the highest-ranking officer with Native American ancestry in the U.S. Army at that time. Tinker demonstrated the hands-on, get-things-done nature of Oklahomans when he personally led a force of B-24s against the retreating Japanese naval forces during the Battle of Midway on June 7.

During that battle, Tinker became the first American general killed during World War II, but his legacy was commemorated in a lasting way a few months later when the Oklahoma City Air Depot was named Tinker Field in his honor. That air depot served its country faithfully during World War II and is still serving faithfully today as Tinker Air Force Base and the Air Force Sustainment Center.

This year is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Tinker Air Force Base and the impact it has on our community. The base turns 75 this year and will host events all year long to celebrate including a half marathon and air show. Check out a list of events to get involved. 

Save

aviation, festivals, history, running, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best of 2016

Riversport Rapids

This time of the year is filled with “Best of Lists.” Best of music, best of movies, best of television … you get the idea. So why not us? So here are our favorite posts of the past year. Below is a good example of what this blog is all about so you can easily share with your friends and show them why this blog is such a good and entertaining resource. Consider it a “Here-are-five-important-things-a-newbie–to-OKC-needs-to-know” list:

  • With or without a paddle- Maybe no place in OKC had a bigger 2016 than the Oklahoma River. The opening of the RIVERSPORT Rapids gave citizens and visitors an experience you can’t find anywhere else, whitewater rafting in a metropolitan downtown.
  • Let’s hear it for the beer- The craft beer scene in Oklahoma City has been on the rise for a while with some local breweries who have won big honors. However, recent efforts to modernize our state’s liquor laws have set the stage for local breweries to reach a whole new level.
  • Area of innovation- Entrepreneurship has been in our city’s DNA since its founding in a single day. This year an effort in placemaking centered around a proposed innovation district took huge strides towards reality.
  • Making a mark on aviation history- Our city and state have played an underrated role in the evolution of aviation. From early pioneers like Wiley Post to astronauts like Shannon Lucid, the Sooner State has been on the forefront of aerospace innovation.
water sports, aviation, beer, entrepreneur, history, Innovation District, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brush up on OKCís military history

45th Infantry Division Museum

Because of OKC’s ongoing ties to the U.S. military, you can learn about this community’s history with the U.S. Armed Services year round.

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

aviation, history, military, museums, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Making a mark on aviation history

While the Wright brothers may not have hailed from Oklahoma, plenty of other aviation pioneers did, allowing Oklahoma to leave an indelible mark on the industry’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

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). In 1933, he became the first person to fly solo around the world. 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).

Another Oklahoma aviation and military pioneer is Major Gen. Clarence Tinker, who was born in Osage Nation near Pawhuska, Okla., in 1887. He began his distinguished military service in 1912, when he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he rose in rank to major, and in 1919 he was transferred to the place where he would spend the bulk of his career, the Air Corps.

After rising through the ranks, he was named Commander of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, Tinker was promoted to major general, becoming the first Native American to reach that rank and the highest-ranking officer with Native American ancestry in the U.S. Army at that time. Tinker demonstrated the hands-on, get-things-done nature of Oklahomans when he personally led a force of B-24s against the retreating Japanese naval forces during the Battle of Midway on June 7.

During that battle, Tinker became the first American general killed during World War II, but his legacy was commemorated in a lasting way a few months later when the Oklahoma City Air Depot was named Tinker Field in his honor. That air depot served its country faithfully during World War II and is still serving faithfully today as Tinker Air Force Base and the Air Force Sustainment Center.

aerospace, aviation, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aviation soars in OKC

HIstorical U.S. Air Force in OKC photo

If you are an aviation aficionado, you probably already know what a major role that aviation and aerospace plays in our current economy and in Oklahoma’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

In fact, Wiley Post was the first person to fly solo around the world, the developer of the first pressurized suit and the discoverer of the jet stream – all before his death at the age of 36. The spirit of discovery and progress he embodied continues today, as aviation is one of the key drivers of our region’s economy. There are more than 300 public- and private-sector aviation and aerospace firms in the Greater Oklahoma City region alone, and Oklahoma is now one of the top 10 states in traditional aerospace occupation employment. Learn more about Oklahoma City’s booming aerospace industry here.

aviation, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Want to get away?

One of the great advantages of living in Oklahoma City is its central location, which gives its residents and businesses ease of access to almost any city in the nation. A key player in connecting Oklahoma City with the globe is Will Rogers World Airport.

WRWA currently serves 22 cities nonstop and offers flights through seven different airlines. The airport accommodates more than 3.8 million travelers each year and has an average of 73 daily departures.  Recently, WRWA added nonstop service from Oklahoma City to Seattle through Alaska Airlines.

aviation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



I got 99 problems but a museum ainít one

Amelia Earhart Pilots License

We’ve already told you a little bit about OKC’s connection to aviation in both the past and present, but if you want to learn more, Oklahoma City’s 99s Museum of Women Pilots will give you a glimpse into an important part of aviation history. Named for the 99 women pilots who signed the original membership charter in 1929, the Ninety-Nines is an international organization of women pilots. Their museum, located near Will Rogers World Airport, celebrates the inspiring history of female aviators from the early days of airplanes to the women of space exploration.

The museum houses a large collection of artifacts that belonged to the one of the most recognizable female pilots: Amelia Earhart. Earhart was the first elected president of the organization, and the museum houses her original pilot’s license alongside other personal effects. Other exhibits include a feature on female military pilots from WWII to today.

aviation, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Take to the Skies

You have probably already heard about Oklahoma City’s aviation history, but an upcoming event at Will Rogers Airport will give you the chance to experience it. The Commemorative Air Force is bringing their AirPower History Tour to Oklahoma City from Sept. 18-21.

Attendees will be able to tour aircraft and experience a ride-along on one of four aircraft, all from the WWII era: Fairchild PT-19, Boeing Stearman, C-45 Expeditor and a B-29 Superfortress. The B-29, named FIFI, was the premier bomber of WWII and the last one still flying. Admission is $10 per person, with discounted admission for children younger than 18 and free admission for children under the age of 10. Visit the website for more information.

aviation, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Aviation is More Than OK in OKC

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.

aviation, history, Oklahoma
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Nonstop Success

One advantage to Oklahoma City’s central location is that it is pretty easy to get to just about anywhere in the U.S., whether by plane, train or automobile. If you have a long trip in mind, we recommend taking a plane (so you can get back to OKC quicker). Will Rogers World Airport (WRWA) is our state’s biggest and busiest airport, and it is located in Oklahoma City. In fact more, than 3.5 million passengers go through WRWA airport each year. Over the past couple of years, the airport has seen extensive expansion and renovations to improve travelers’ amenities with more to come. In fact, a $70 million renovation is currently in the planning stages. The project will expand the terminal, add three new gates, a new concourse and more. Also on the horizon (scheduled for Spring of 2015) is a $44-million car rental center. The new facility will accommodate up to 900 rentals and help free up parking space close to the airport.  

WRWA currently has 20 nonstop flights all over the U.S., so check the schedule and plan your next vacation. Just be sure to check often because new nonstop flights are added frequently!

aviation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tinker Helps OKC Take Off

Tinker Air Force Base is one of the largest Air Force bases in the U.S., and is located right here in the Oklahoma City metro. Tinker not only plays a critical role in our nation’s defense, but is also a key economic driver for our region and state. The base houses the largest group of civilian Air Force personnel in the U.S. and is Oklahoma’s largest single site employer. More than 26,000 employees work at Tinker each day.

As you would expect, Tinker covers a lot of ground to house that many employees. The base covers nine square miles and has more than 760 buildings with a floor space of more than 15.2 million square feet.

The recent addition of the Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) has made the base an even bigger focal point of support for our Air Force. The AFSC is the center for all Air Force weapon systems, and provides crucial support to the warfighter through depot maintenance, supply chain management and installation support.   

A little history on the base: Oklahoma City was awarded the base in 1941 using land that was owned by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. Tinker Air Force base is named after U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker. Tinker was a native Oklahoman who was the first major general of American Indian descent in U.S. Army history. He was also the first general killed in World War II.

A little-known fact about Tinker: Rock pioneer and legend Buddy Holly actually recorded his hit song “Maybe Baby” (and couple of other tunes) in the Tinker Air Force Base Officer’s Club about a year and a half before his untimely death. You can read more about that here.

aviation, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Women of Aviation

We’ve talked a lot about Oklahoma’s aviation history and one place you can see aviation history come alive is the 99s Museum of Women Pilots. Named for the 99 women pilots who signed the original membership charter in 1929, the Ninety-Nines is an international organization of women pilots. Their museum, located near Will Rogers World Airport, celebrates the inspiring history of female aviators from Amelia Earhart to women of space. Speaking of Amelia, the museum houses a large collection of artifacts that belonged to the famed aviatrix.

aviation, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)