Mason Etcheverry will make history Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, where his great-great-grandfather Will Rogers was born.
Mason, 18, will pilot a plane carrying his grandfather, Kem Rogers, and land on the grass strip adjacent to Will’s birthplace.
It will be the first time one of Will’s family has flown during the annual Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In.
The event was started about 25 years ago to mark the anniversary of the Aug. 15, 1935 Alaska plane crash which claimed their lives.
The son of Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry and Mark Etcheverry, Mason was so young when he last visited the ranch, his memories are vague. The Fly-In offers him a unique opportunity.
“I am very excited. I look forward to landing on the grass strip and sharing the experience with my grandpa, who now lives with us in California.”
Three years ago when he first started flying, he took Kem up during one of his flying lessons.
He will fly Tom Egbert’s 1956 Cessna 172 when he comes to Claremore.
Mason heard stories from Kem Rogers and his mother about Will’s interest in aviation, including his role in creation of a United States Air Force.
Almost as soon as he returns home from the Fly-In, Mason will be off for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz., campus, majoring in aeronautical science.
Last year more than 100 planes landed at the Fly-In, which offers an opportunity for spectators to watch planes land and get a close-up look at planes while visiting pilots. It also includes an Antique and Classic Car Show, inflatables for children, Cherokee storyteller, music, and tours of the house where Will was born. Concessions will be available.
Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring your own lawn chair.
Admission to the grounds is free. Additional parking is provided this year south of the airfield.