The National Biplane Association (NBA) Memorial Plaza was constructed after the 1996 Biplane Expo mid-air collision of two biplanes that resulted in four fatalities, including Annette Delahay and Rod Bogan of Bartlesville and two high-profile NBA members. To memorialize those fallen, as well as deceased members, the association developed the estimated $35,000 plaza, which included a memorial monolith, sculpture by Sandra Van Zandt, and compass rose. Construction was completed in 1997.
The memorial was originally located at the NBA headquarters – a hangar on the northeastern side of the Bartlesville Municipal Airport airfield. However, after the NBA held its “Grand Finale” expo in 2009 due to declining aircraft and public attendance and aging pilots, officials ultimately decided to dispose of the biplane facility.
NBA officials worked with former City Manager Ed Gordon to gain approval for relocation of the Memorial Plaza to the airport’s circle drive, the main entrance to the airport terminal building. The memorial remained the same for the most part but was updated to include a new, solid mahogany granite monolith with newly engraved memorialized names. A new compass rose was also installed, featuring bronze and granite inlays, as well as a bronze plaque showcasing the history of the Biplane Expo. Relocation of the memorial was completed in 2010.
Although the association was dissolved in 2013, its legacy lives on through the memorial.
Honoring the fallen
According to former NBA officials, the memorial monolith is available to any biplane member who elects to memorialize a deceased loved one. Cost for having names engraved is $500 per name. For more information regarding the Memorial Plaza, contact Airport Director Mike Richardson at 918.661.3500.