The Liberty Gazette
March 30, 2010
March 30, 2010
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely
Linda: Professional pilot and founder of Girls With Wings, Lynda Meeks, posted on her Facebook, “I’m going to camp. Acro Camp.”
Few things will grab my attention more than acro – aerobatics, that is. After congratulating Lynda on something that sounded so very cool, I checked it out.
Acro Camp is a documentary feature film in the works. It will capture the drama and excitement when four ordinary pilots come together for four days to fly aerobatics for the first time. Filming starts May 12 in Michigan. The casting call went out sometime in January. Knowing Lynda Meeks and all she is doing to encourage children to follow their dreams, she is a good choice for the show.
The other “campers” will be Paul Berliner, a 12,000-hour airline pilot; and pilots Michelle Kole, and Jim Rodriguez a Major in the Air Force Reserve where he is a lawyer and Judge Advocate. Two instructors, Barry Sutton and Don Weaver, will keep the campers happy with spins, loops, and rolls.
There’s more information at the project’s blog and website at http://www.acrocamp.com/, and of course on Lynda’s blog at http://www.girlswithwings.com/.
This movie project has taken up a great deal of creator Steve Tupper’s time who, when not flying or filming, practices law. He was surprised at how much is involved in making a movie, and said the hardest part was selecting the cast, which he referred to as “darned near perfect.” My dad produced a few movies, commercials, and radio shows in his day, so I have some idea of what Steve is talking about.
Preparing his newly picked cast, he instructed them to buy and read Geza Szurovy and Mike Goulian’s book, Basic Aerobatics, while Steve focused on technical issues, such as camera mounting.
As I read his blog, I got more of that “small world of aviation” when I read that Steve had flown with one of my favorite acro pilots, Billy Werth. Mike and I met Billy while on a trip to Indy a couple of years ago. He taxied up to the fuel pumps in his Pitts and we talked for quite awhile. But Billy just keeps showing up, especially practicing over my sister’s property. Sometime later my sister told me that Billy was engaged to this gal, Haley, who used to live across the street from us when we were little kids. I remembered Haley as a cute little two-year old with blond pigtails. My sister remembered collaborating with Haley’s sister and stuffing little Haley in a hamper one day. And now, here she was, engaged to Billy Werth!
So back to Steve Tupper and Acro Camp. Steve was struggling to find a place to mount a camera in the Pitts they will use for filming. There’s just no room inside the cockpit, so he’s working now on rigging an outside set-up. Of course, if the camera is outside the cockpit, a microphone will have to be wired to the pilots. Steve said he’d probably have to tape the mic behind their ears. “It’ll be easy to tell a cast member–just look for the red spot behind the ear where repeated applications of gaffer tape have removed the epidermis.”
I’m excited for my friend, Lynda, and the rest of the cast, for what Steve Tupper calls the “really cool things going on.”
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.