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OKLAHOMA AIR TOUR OF 1928

The 1927 transatlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh sparked enormous interest in aviation around the nation. In Oklahoma this boom manifested itself in the Oklahoma Air Tour of 1928. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma, it involved aviators visiting any Oklahoma town expressing an interest in aviation. The five-day tour, departing Oklahoma City on May 14, flew eighteen thousand cumulative miles and stopped at eighteen towns. An estimated 100,000 people turned out to view the twenty-two participating aircraft and hear the pilots promote the cause of commercial aviation.

Participants included Oklahoma aviation luminaries Paul Braniff and racing pilots Maurice Marr and Jimmy Haizlip. Also present was Frank Hawks, sent to demonstrate Texaco's new Ford Tri-Motor Transport. At Lawton the public and visiting pilots were entertained by a mock dogfight staged by U.S. Army aviators Bert Woodring and Lewers Cornelius, two Oklahoma-born members of the Three Musketeers, a forerunner of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Several towns, including Guthrie, Altus, and Miami, established airfields specifically for the tour. Other towns were also prompted to propose bond issues for the establishment of municipal airports. The tour was staged again in 1929, but the Great Depression put an end to subsequent efforts.

SEE ALSO: ROY HUNT, BENNETT GRIFFIN, CLARENCE PAGE, JACK RIDLEY, TRANSPORTATION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. B. Estes, "All Oklahoma Sprouts Wings," My Oklahoma 2 (September 1928). Charles Haines Hopkins, "The Log of the State Air Tour." My Oklahoma 2 (May 1928).

Keith Tolman

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