BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) _ Construction at Bartlesville's Frank Phillips Field has grounded two airplane events, officials said.
Losing the Biplane Expo 2001 and Tulsa Regional Fly-In means a drop of $500,000 in tourism revenue for the community, Pam Dunlap, Bartlesville Area Chamber of Commerce president, said Monday.
Both events were scheduled this year for Sept. 20 and 21.
``We are really disappointed,'' Dunlap said. ``But you know it is a smart decision. These are expensive planes, and you want the pilot to have a good experience here.''
Repairs to the airport are scheduled to be completed by September, but Dunlap said any complication or quirk in the weather that causes a delay would put the events at risk.
Organizers determined it was better to cancel the events rather than contend with the possibility of poor conditions at the airport.
Biplane Expo has been held in Bartlesville every June since 1987 and the Tulsa Regional Fly-In has been a Bartlesville event since September 1992. This year would have marked the 45th anniversary of the Tulsa Fly-In.
More than 500 planes generally fly in for each event, making them among the largest sport aviation festivals in the United States.
Organizers are counting on the airport repairs being completed so both events can return at the regularly scheduled times in 2002.
Construction began in September on the taxiway, but weather-related delays in the fall, winter and spring put work behind schedule.
Charles W. Harris, chairman of the expo and fly-in, said that if construction is completed, the Biplane Expo would be held next year on its traditional dates, May 31 to June 1, and the regional fly-in is scheduled for the third week in September.