This year’s Biplane Expo in Bartlesville, Okla., will be the last of the annual fly-ins that began in 1987, organizers announced on Dec. 19. The National Biplane Association said increasing costs and staffing requirements were behind its board’s decision to end the event. The final Biplane Expo is scheduled for June 4 through 6.
Calling it the “final aviation event for the organization,” NBA officials cited increasing costs and staffing requirements, as well as deteriorating national economic conditions, as reasons for discontinuing the event, according to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise newspaper. During the past 23 years, nearly 2,500 biplanes have attended the Biplane Expo, along with more than 7,000 regular general aviation aircraft and 75,000 people, the newspaper reported.
The National Biplane Association was formed in 1987 to further the legacy of the biplane aircraft and has conducted large and highly-attended biplane events in Bartlesville since 1987. The Biplane Expo, along with the Tulsa Regional Fly-In, “has helped to make Bartlesville a better known community in the sport aviation world,” supporters of the event said. Honored guests at the Biplane Expositions have included some of the most famous aviation personalities in the nation, including Gen. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the B-29 Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, ending World War II. The Association will announce its honored guest for 2009, and other plans for its last expo, at a later date.