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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May 26, 2009 Hamilton fly-in

The Liberty Gazette
May 26, 2009

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

What a great turn-out at the Liberty Airport last week. It’s exciting to see the public interest that has been generated in seeing this asset go to work for the good of South Liberty County. On behalf of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, we extend our thanks to the City of Liberty, Airport Advisory Board, Height Hazard Zoning Board, City of Ames, County Commissioner Fontenot, the local media, and all supporters in furthering progress for the citizens and taxpayers, aviators, and the nation’s vital airspace. The lighting and drainage project grants made available from the FAA through TXDOT are great steps toward building a great airport. While we are only two, we are two voices of appreciation for the move forward. As we continue to be a voice for General Aviation in Liberty and elsewhere, our travels often bring back experience that offers fresh new ideas for our Airport’s future. Hamilton, Texas is one example.

Mike: In spite of the weather forecast we took off before sunrise, bikes secured in the back of the Cheetah, hoping against the odds we could slip in to Hamilton for the annual Hill-Acetous 100 Fly-In and Bike Tour. Hamilton General Hospital sponsors the community-wide event, which offers bike routes from easy 10K family rides to 100-milers for serious cyclists. Supporting these events, especially in small towns like Hamilton (population 3,000), gives aviators a reason to fly (we needed one?) while supporting the efforts of communities and their sponsors.

Bearing northwest, the controller advised us of heavy precipitation over Hamilton Municipal Airport. Having just passed Temple, home to the TXDOT 2008 Airport of the Year, we swooped back around to land and check the storm’s movement. Weather radar on the airport’s computer screen delivered the bad news: severe thunderstorms, not leaving the Hamilton area soon. In fact, the storms were growing and would soon be closing in on Temple. The notion we’d had about getting breakfast vanished, as we paid for the fuel, thanked the lineman for the offer of a car, and took off for College Station, far enough away from the weather.

Linda: Parking at an FBO and borrowing a car without buying what they sell (fuel) is kind of like stopping at McDonald’s to use the restroom without at least buying coffee. That’s why we filled up at Temple. Unfortunately for the College Station FBO, we hadn’t burned much fuel, but we bought what the plane would hold–6.2 gallons–and hopped in the courtesy Jeep Cherokee in search of breakfast. Mike was flying the return leg, while I, sufficiently stuffed, and disappointed in the weather, soon dozed off–until I heard, “Grumman Niner-Five-Eight, traffic 10 o’clock, three miles, altitude indicates 1,000 feet.” My eyelids opened suddenly, but Mike already had the traffic in sight.

We crossed over Weiser Airpark, west of Houston, listened for “Jumpers away,” in case we needed to steer clear of falling bodies, and noticed many football, soccer, and baseball fields beneath us. I could almost hear James Earl Jones saying “Baseball, Ray…” We hope for better weather for Hamilton’s Fly-In/Bike Tour next year.

Mike and Linda can be reached at

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