View Full Version : Construction to begin on $3.4 million aviation theme park in September

03-10-2006, 03:46 PM
Construction to begin on $3.4 million aviation theme park in September
by Brandice J. Armstrong
The Journal Record

Journal Record Photo
OKLAHOMA CITY - A $3.4 million aviation theme park is planned for an area near Bethany's Wiley Post Airport on the Oklahoma City side. Construction for the first phase is set to begin in September with a completion date scheduled for next year.
The Curtiss-Wright/Wiley Post Hangar is the first phase of the Wiley Post Heritage of Flight Center. Set about a half-mile north of 50th Street on the east side of Council Road, the hangar will be reconstructed from its original structural steel, which is currently in storage. An aviation and events center that accommodates up to 650 people is also planned for the site. An executive golf course is planned across the street on the west side of Council Road. Discussions for a 50-room fly-in hotel have also ensued.

"It was just something that had to be done," said Bob Kemper, executive director of the Wiley Post Heritage of Flight Center and Transportation Museum. "Aviation is the largest single employer in Oklahoma, even without the military and airlines it is the third-largest employer."

Schematic-level designs are completed for the hangar and proposed hotel. The entire property is estimated to be about 100 acres, said Kevin Decker, project architect and Wiley Post Heritage of Flight Center board member.

"It's the whole Council Road that's undeveloped at this point," Decker said. "We're in the process of raising money from corporate donations and individuals."

The Wiley Post Heritage of Flight Center board has a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Enhancement Program for about $590,000.

The grant can be used to add bike racks, water fountains, partial landscaping and a parking lot. A separate grant by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was awarded to the City of Oklahoma City for bike trails that run in front of the project at east side of Council Road where the hangar will be, Kemper said.

Initially, the airport was on N. May Avenue. It closed in 1955, and by 1960 the art-deco hangar was surrounded by a shopping center that was later transformed into a church. About 10 years ago, auto dealer Jackie Cooper bought the land and hangar to expand his dealership.

Cooper wanted to bulldoze the hangar, fearing that it was a fire danger. A group of local pilots confronted him and asked that the building be taken down and stored at his expense until it could be reconstructed by the airport. Cooper agreed.

The first planned event for the new hangar is The Ninety-Nines 2007 Air Race Classic, a four-day race with approximately 2,400 statute miles.

About 400 aircrafts call Wiley Post Airport home, and 80,000 flight operations were logged last year. In addition, more than $97 million is spent in airport-related activities a year, according to the Wiley Post Airport Web site.

Brandice J. Armstrong reports on real estate, technology, manufacturing, entertainment, tourism and media. You may reach her by phone at (405) 278-2846 or by e-mail at

03-10-2006, 04:32 PM
I'm confused. What makes it a theme park?

03-10-2006, 10:13 PM
I'm confused. What makes it a theme park?
I was waiting for the "punch line" myself that would have explained this. I don't get it. A theme park?

03-10-2006, 10:20 PM
Sounds more like a museum to me.

03-11-2006, 01:37 AM
A park that has a theme (aviation) to it? :)

03-11-2006, 02:52 PM
Yes, but "theme park" pretty much universally refers to an amusement park with themed areas like Frontier City or Epcot or Knott's Berry Farm.

03-12-2006, 08:01 AM
Your first tip should have been 3.4Million dollars.....
that doesn't buy a lot of rides, actually, it barely
buys one cheesy one...

Theme park?

Try 340 Million

It's all semantics though, if Oklahoma wants to
call it a theme park, I guess they can if they wish....
and the Homeless man holding the sign work for food
can call himself chairman of his own corporation too.....

03-14-2006, 12:44 PM
well that does explain what is going on the west side of council rd. all the construction lately is for an executive golf course and probably a new subdivision just south of river bend