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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April 19, 2011 Lauren Jones, Young Aviatrix, part 2

The Liberty Gazette
April 19, 2011
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

The Dry Creek fly-in community prints a calendar every year featuring twelve of the airplanes that live on the field west of Houston. “We were doing the calendar photo flight,” says eleven-year old Lauren Jones, who lives with her family at Dry Creek, “when the photographer said over the radio, ‘You have a few bugs on the belly of that plane.’ But that was okay because we had just finished a Young Eagles Day, so we knew it would have bugs,” she says of her family’s Bonanza.
The youngster’s enthusiasm for aviation and people is captivating. As aviators do, Lauren’s had adventures, and here in part two are more of them.

“We like to visit Moody Gardens and one time we flew to Galveston and got a ride from the airport to Moody, but when we were ready to come back to the airport we couldn’t find a ride. A fancy charter bus came by and Dad asked if we could get a lift to the airport. The driver said, ‘Sure,’ and let us in because it was empty. As we were stepping off the bus Dad tipped him, and the driver said, ‘Thanks! Now I have to get going, there’s a bride and groom waiting on me!’” Lauren’s natural humor makes the story amusing, as she imagines a couple dressed in wedding attire, as she and her father unknowingly detour their ride.

Math is the young aviatrix’s favorite subject in school (which probably makes Mom happy, as she was a high school math teacher), and she enjoys her teachers – especially Mrs. Strahan, Mrs. Russell, and Mr. Sesler. In referring to Mr. Sesler, her science teacher, she says “When you first see him you might not think he’s so fun, but when he gets in to class he is really nice and funny.” Lauren brings out the best in people. She seems completely at ease with older folks, as much as kids her own age.

Mike: She’s even been to AirVenture in Oshkosh for the world’s largest convention, and says, “It was really busy flying into Oshkosh, but it was fun! With four airplanes landing in front of us, and three behind, you have to land and get out of the way.” She’s looking forward to going again this year.

She understands runway orientation and airport traffic patterns, too. “Turning final,” she explains relative to coming home to Dry Creek, “is where you turn over Walmart – of course, that depends on if you’re landing on 18 or 36 – it was base the other day, so that means we were landing on 18.”

The grown-ups who live at Dry Creek have fun with her on the radio. “Dad will be doing touch-and-go’s and some of our neighbors will get on the radio and say, ‘Great touch-and-go, Lauren! That’s a 10! Are you going to let your dad do one now?’” She laughs, and says adorably, “My feet don’t even reach the rudder pedals yet, so I can’t really land it.”

Lauren’s earliest memory of flying in the front seat is at age four. “I was out of my car seat by then,” she reflects, “so I could sit up front. It was a night flight and it was so beautiful with all the lights.”

So what does she like best? “The take-off! It means we’re up and free!”

Don’t miss next week’s installment on this very special girl. Until then, blue skies.

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