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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Monday, May 17, 2010

February 16, 2010 Coopers in Llano

The Liberty Gazette
February 16, 2010

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

Mike:
We flipped a coin and Linda won. She got the first leg of our daytrip out to Llano, Texas to meet Liza, her race partner for this year’s Air Race Classic, the only all-women cross-country air race. Linda has participated in the event the last two years. As we climbed out northbound from Ellington Field we spoke with Houston Approach Control and got clearance through “the corridor” westbound over I-10. Once clear of Bush and Hobby’s airspace to the west it was a straight shot to Llano in one of the best weather days we’ve had recently. Linda’s partner was on her way down from Mesquite near Dallas. On this joyful flight we were accompanied by Abby and Chip, our two rescue dogs that became part of our family a couple months ago. This was their second flight in the airplane and they handled it very well.

The radio frequencies were busy with Saturday good-weather traffic as we were handed off from Houston Approach to Houston Center and then on to Austin Approach while crossing north of the State’s Capitol. Llano Airport’s frequency was busy too, as theirs is shared by several airports across the state. After landing at Llano, Abby and Chip scurried out to sniff new smells and leave a trace. Then Linda and I checked out the comfy, oversized rocking chairs on the large covered porch as we waited for Liza to arrive. Landing in a Piper Arrow, Liza and a couple of friends hopped out and secured their airplane while we housed our puppies in their portable kennels under the pleasant and watchful eye of gracious airport employees. I drove one of their two 15-passenger courtesy vans, joined by a few other planeloads of people all arriving in Llano for the same thing, Cooper’s BBQ.

Linda: Cooper’s is a popular place in town and people come from all over to eat there. We used it as a meeting place to discuss the Air Race Classic, but because of all the activity, saved that for another time. Instead, we just enjoyed the people, good food and atmosphere. All agreed it was worth flying to Llano for. This would not have been possible if the airport did not provide ground transportation. Otherwise, to pilots, Llano would be just another town with an airport and would not be as popular a destination as it is.

The Air Race Classic isn’t the only racing I will be doing this year. We have been making improvements to our little Cheetah and Mike and I will compete as Team Ely in the Sport Air Racing League which groups planes in competitive classes.

Mike: The Sport Air Racing League (SARL) has twelve races this season; six are in Texas and others are in distant locations such as Pennsylvania, Colorado and Canada. Like NASCAR and Indy, you get points from your placement in each racing event and the most points in a season wins the championship title. We’ll have more on SARL next week from Founder and Chairman Mike Thompson. ‘Til then, blue skies.

Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.

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