The Liberty Gazette
February 26, 2008
February 26, 2008
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Chatting with a local business owner I heard again for the umpteenth time, “Why is it we in the community never hear anything about the airport?” Of course I suggested she read our column every week, but aside from that, it has come to our attention that the Liberty airport just isn’t publicized. We’d like to change that. Mike and I have a passion for what we do and want the community to understand the value of this little airport and the potential economic impact it has for Liberty.
The Texas Department of Transportation is the entity that holds the purse strings for airport grant money. Show them a commitment to airport development and they’ll be very supportive. Show them we understand the economic and social value and they’ll want to help our airport be successful. Our city is working with TXDOT for grant money to improve the airport, but there is much more that can be done. We encourage the business communities of South Liberty County to learn more about the airport, so we’ll be offering information at the Liberty-Dayton Chamber of Commerce March luncheon. We recently addressed the Lions Club and welcome opportunities to share this information with other area business and civic organizations.
Mike: Local pilot, Steve Johnson is starting up an EAA Chapter here in Liberty, where the Young Eagles program will be used to promote aviation to youngsters. Chet Tims, an experienced Young Eagles coordinator will be a valuable asset.
Beginning in April, the first Thursday of each month at 6:00pm, the FAA will sponsor aviation safety seminars, open to pilots and the non-flying public alike. First Liberty National Bank has graciously offered to provide a location for the seminars until suitable facilities exist at the airport.
Charlie Grabein is planning some traditional fly-ins, and we’re also trying a new idea: Fly-ins featuring local business attractions. Working with the Valley Players, we’re advertising every production to the aviation community, inviting people to visit Liberty, “a friendly, historic town.” We will try the same with other businesses. Area restaurants, hotels, and other businesses would benefit greatly from welcoming aviators. In talking with other area pilots we’ve decided to form the Liberty County Pilot Association, a group that will promote both General Aviation and the Liberty area, to put Liberty and surrounding communities in the spotlight for visitors. As we’ve said over and over, a community’s airport is its front door.
Linda: The State of Virginia has a novel idea: earn rewards for landing at Virginia airports. The AOPA reported (Jan.30, 2008) that “Pilots who fly in Virginia can earn rewards for trying new destinations…as part of the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program.” To promote general aviation, they reward pilots who fly to all 66 public-use airports, attend safety seminars and fly-ins, and visit Virginia’s aviation museums. What an ingenious idea to support airports, businesses, and communities through tourism.
And along the lines of supporting General Aviation, you can listen online to a new radio show Saturday mornings at 10 AM (Eastern) at http://www.flighttimeradio.com/. There’s also Ultra Flight Radio, aired Tuesdays at 12 PM (Eastern), at http://www.ultraflightradio.com/
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.