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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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

July 3, 2007 A Fresh Start

Liberty Gazette
July 3, 2007
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely


Linda: Two and a half years ago I went to an air show at Ellington Field. My reason for going was just to have something to do, not because I was interested in airplanes. But as I watched the aerobatic pilots perform their daring maneuvers, I thought to myself, “I wonder what it would be like to do that.” Later, as I admired the old-timers honoring our veterans re-enacting D-Day, that thought returned, “I wonder what it would be like to do that.” A little while later, when the USAF Thunderbirds displayed their finesse, that same idea came back, this time delivered with a conviction to rival the power of the jet engine of an F-16 surprising the crowd with a low approach from behind.

“Wow! I wonder what it’d be like to do that!”

That was October 16, 2004. Two weeks later, I found myself in the left seat of a Cessna 152, an eager flight instructor by my side, talking me through the take-off roll on Ellington’s 9001-foot runway, 17R. Studying and flying every chance I had, by May 16, 2005, I flew with an FAA Designated Examiner and earned my private pilot license.

Nearly two years later I met a wonderful professional pilot. Mike and I married last September and he left Fort Lauderdale, Florida to live here in Liberty.

We thought we’d like to share our stories of the wonderful adventures in aviation. This is what we pilots call “hangar flying”-storytelling at its best.

Mike says that lots of hangar flying starts out “There I was, flat on my back at thirty thousand feet…” Actually, that’s a line often used by long time aviator-humorist, Bob Stevens. We hope our passion for aviation will be contagious as we encourage you to join us in this flying addiction through stories of adventure off the ground.

Mike: My own adventures in the air began about 34 years ago when I took my first airplane ride that included aerobatics as part of the package. I was “hooked” long before that when I would watch every airplane that came over our house through my dad’s binoculars.

A fuel stop in Amarillo on one of the longest runways I had ever seen, right in the middle of nowhere was my introduction to Texas about 25 years ago. I was delivering a brand new Cessna Skyhawk from the factory in Wichita, Kansas to a dealer in Long Beach, California. This must be Texas, I thought. Taxiing onto the massive concrete ramps, a sign way off in the corner caught my attention: Fuel- Any credit card accepted, even Sears. Just as I had heard, they really do things big here.

Low on cash, I asked for directions to the nearest bank but the friendly young lady working at the airport offered to drive me into town herself. Hanging the “Be Back Soon” sign, she drove me to a bank with the biggest drive-thru I’d ever seen. There must have been 10 lanes. The bank lobby sported a three story atrium garden. Everyone I came into contact with that day was friendly in a big Texas way.

Now I am happy to call Liberty, Texas home. My wife is teaching me to say, “I wasn’t born here, but I got here as fast as I could!”

Together, we look forward to bringing you news and stories from aloft and from pilots right here in the Liberty area.

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

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