Oakley G. Kelly

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Oakley George Kelly
Born (1891-12-03)December 3, 1891
Died June 5, 1966(1966-06-05) (aged 74)
San Diego, California
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Rank Colonel
Commands held 321st Observation Squadron
(1924 – 1929)
Awards Mackay Trophy (1922 – 1923)

Oakley George Kelly (December 3, 1891 – June 5, 1966) was a record setting pilot for the United States Army Air Service.


He was born on December 3, 1891 in Pennsylvania and grew up in Grove City.

In May 1922, Lieutenant Oakley G. Kelly and Lieutenant John Arthur Macready were awarded the 1922 Mackay Trophy for the beating the world's air endurance record and staying aloft for 36 hours, 4 minutes, and 32 seconds.[1]

On May 2, 1923, Lieutenants Kelly and Macready flew their single-engined, high-wing Army Fokker T-2 over 2,625 miles (4,225 km) from Mitchel Field, New York to Rockwell Field, originally called the Signal Corps Aviation School, North Island, San Diego, California in an official time of 26 hours, 50 minutes and 38​35 seconds,[2] setting the record for transcontinental flight by a heavier-than-air craft [3] winning the 1923 Mackay Trophy.

In October 1924, Kelly piloted Ezra Meeker along portions of the Oregon Trail to generate support for marking and preserving the historic route using the same airplane in which Kelley had set the record: a single-engine, high-wing Army Fokker T-2. Traveling by air at 100 mph, Meeker traveled the same distance in an hour that had taken him a week to travel by ox at 2 mph.[4]

Between 1924 and 1929, Kelly was the squadron commander for the 321st Observation Squadron at Pearson Field, Vancouver, Washington.[4] Kelly retired from military service as a Colonel on March 31, 1948. He died at age 74 in San Diego, California in 1966.[5]


  1. ^ "2005 USAF Almanac: The Mackay Trophy". Air Force Magazine. May 2005. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Col. John A. Macready". Nevada Aeerospace Hall of Fame. October 31, 2010. 
  3. ^ McCloud, Norman C. (1923). "Coast-to-Coast Air Mail-28 Hours!". Popular Science Monthly: 28. 
  4. ^ a b Alley, William (2006). Pearson Field. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-7385-3129-4. 
  5. ^ "Oakley G. Kelly". Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 

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