formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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April 13, 2010 Pops & Props

The Liberty Gazette
April 13, 2010

The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum, a project of the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society, was founded for research, promotion and preservation of the rich aeronautical heritage of Houston and Southeast Texas. HAHS President Drew Coats had an idea back in the mid-1990’s that somebody ought to save the old airport terminal at Hobby, with its unique architecture and history. His years of hard work are paying off. Under Drew’s leadership the non-profit corporation obtains funding through grants, contributions, memberships, gift shop sales, airplane raffles, and special events. Mike and I recently attended one of those special events, the annual Pops & Props Gala.

Transported in time in the aura of the restored terminal we enjoyed fancy dining, dancing by the incredible Terpsechorean dance team, and period music cascading from the upper level performed by the Houstonian Big Band. The term “two left feet” describes me pretty well, so I’ve steered clear from dance floors, but that doesn’t prevent me from appreciating talent. I learned that the lady in the flowing blue gown (Sandra, from Vienna) was dancing a Waltz with her amazingly graceful yet masculine husband (Rob, from Holland). I’ve not seen a more beautiful dance. Hearing they were also going to perform a Tango and a Foxtrot, I leaned over and whispered to Mike, “Hey! Tango and Foxtrot–two words in our phonetic alphabet,” just as the dazzling couple glided within inches of us and he dipped her back so that she was facing me, kind of upside down like. Continuing to whisper to Mike at that point would have been rather uncouth. Timing is everything. “Come Fly With Me” was the song they chose for their Foxtrot, and other dancers joined them in fun formation dances.

Perusing the silent auction items, we found four or five things we fancied but won only the art deco model of a Lockheed Constellation.

Sitting at round tables seating ten offers an entertaining opportunity to listen to parts of conversations blend. The talk to my left of F-16 fly-overs was sprinkled with recipes to my right for chocolate ice cream with cinnamon and cayenne pepper, and vanilla ice cream with brown sugar and bacon mix-ins. I’ll take the F-16s, thank you. Low on the fly-overs, please.

Mike: Proudly guarding the stately terminal on the ramp outside were a 1968 North American Shrike Commander, which sported an inspection plate signed by aviation great Bob Hoover. Bob flew a Shrike in his air show routine but not this particular one. His autograph appears on the airplane because its owner won an auction last year to have dinner with the esteemed aviator, and brought a piece of the airplane to dinner, asking Hoover to leave his mark.

The museum’s own Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar, a beautiful 1940’s tail-wheel airliner and corporate plane, joined the Shrike along with a Cessna T50 Bobcat, and of course, the museum’s raffle plane for this year, a 1958 Cessna 175. By the way, raffle tickets are $50, only 2,500 tickets will be sold and the drawing will be held July 17th during the museum’s “Wings and Wheels” event.

We had a grand time, and thank Megan Lickliter-Mundon, the museum administrator, and Drew Coats for inviting us to be their guests. Check the museum’s website for details and plan a trip soon. History buffs and aviation nuts will love it.

Mike and Linda can be reached at

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