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100 Years of Powered Flight Commemorated in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, OK
December 18, 2003

On Friday evening, Dec. 12th at 6:00 pm, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission commemorated the 100th anniversary of the world's first successful powered flight. The Commission celebrated this historic achievement in the Million Air Hangar at Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City. Despite the winter weather, nearly 300 people attended the event.

On Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright brothers completed a 12-second, 120-foot journey at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. A new industry was born and a new way of life followed closely behind…one in which Oklahoma would soon play a significant role.

Governor Brad Henry recognized four Oklahoma aviation heroes during the event. "Few moments in history have done more to capture the essence of the American spirit than those twelve seconds that changed the world," said Governor Henry. "We owe much to the pioneering spirit of legendary aviator Wiley Post, NORDAM founder Ray Siegfried, the state" oldest aviator and instructor Lee Fish, and distinguished astronaut General Tom Stafford. It is through the efforts of such remarkable people that we have such a rich heritage in aviation and aerospace.

Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin recognized two airports with the Airport of the Year awards. "No invention has made such an indelible imprint on our world and our state as the airplane. I applaud all the Oklahoma honorees for contributing to such a significant history of aviation accomplishments and inspiring the next generation of inventors," said Lieutenant Governor Fallin.

Victor Bird, director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, said the aviation industry is a tremendous economic force in Oklahoma. "With more than 300 aerospace firms in our state, the industry accounts for more than 143,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in payroll and nearly $12 billion in industrial output. Oklahoma ranks in the top ten in the nation for the number of airports per capita. The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission is proud to honor Oklahoma's aviation heroes and institutions."

The event was designated as the official state celebration by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and also honored the 40th anniversary of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. The mission of the Commission and its staff is to encourage, foster, and assist in the development of aeronautics in this state and to encourage the establishment of airports and air navigation facilities.

For more information, please contact Erin Wright (405) 604-6900.


Erin Wright
Aviation & Government Affairs Liaison
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission
3700 N. Classen Blvd., Ste. 240
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 604-6901
(405) 604-6919 Fax

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