The Liberty Gazette
September 29, 2009
September 29, 2009
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely
Mike: Every time I crossed over head, I looked down at the three old Twin Beech carcasses parked at the end of a grass strip and I’d remind myself to find out more about them– there’s got to be a story there. Besides, it seems to fit into a novel I’m currently writing. I would often reroute on my way back to Ellington Field, sometimes lingering overhead to study the Beechcraft airplanes from above. Landing on someone’s private airstrip without their permission is not good etiquette so I had to find them on the ground. Tracing roads from the air and cross-referencing with a navigation chart, finally one day I found it while driving through the back roads southeast of Crosby. The gates were closed and locked and so Linda suggested I leave a note. A few days later I got a call.
David Rogers is the gracious owner of T9A3, the FAA’s official designation for his airstrip that is simply labeled Rogers on the aeronautical charts. Its length is listed at 3,000 feet but David says “It’s a bit more.” The runway ends at Cedar Bayou. At that end of the airstrip sits an old Beech 18 (a/k/a Twin Beech) that David bought a long time ago, along with two others, one of which once belonged to Earl Atkins. David bought them to supply parts for a fourth Beech D18 which, having been owned by David since 1965, is now undergoing restoration.
When David first called me back we spoke on the phone a bit and then he invited us out to his place to look at his pride and joy, the Beech he was rebuilding. We swooped down on his place in our Cheetah one Sunday afternoon on our way back from a trip up north. David had given me a briefing about the particulars of his strip except for one thing, there is a radio-controlled airfield just off the northwest side of his place and as I started my turn from downwind to base, we were looking at a small airplane doing loops and rolls ahead of us. I’m sure the operator on the ground was just as surprised as we were, but we managed to avoid any calamity and made our landing on David’s strip more or less uneventfully.
Now as you land on a grass strip with trees on each side, your focus is generally down the middle of the runway. So when we came to a stop and turned around to taxi back to David’s hangar, we were surprised at what we saw.
Linda: I said, “Look at that,” as we taxied by what looked like a huge hotel off to the side of the runway. From the air it just looks like a big hangar. Further along on our taxi, we discovered a large swimming pool and then came the hangar, a tractor and mower, and two of the three Beech fuselages. We spun our Cheetah around and shut down. As we exited the airplane David greeted us warmly. We’ll tell you more next week about this low key but very interesting individual, who has been written about before by another Gazette writer.
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.