The Liberty GazetteEly Air Lines
May 10, 2011
May 10, 2011
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: The only thing left to change on the Jones family Beechcraft Bonanza was the paint, and little Lauren kept her hopes that the airplane she was used to would not be changed any more. Here we go with the fifth and final (for now) segment on this precious young aviatrix.
“I really liked it the way it was,” eleven-year old Lauren says with the fondness of a friend. “It was orange and brown. I could tell it looked like the ‘70’s because I’ve seen some stuff from the ‘70’s.” An air traffic controller liked it too. At least someone sided with her. “He said it reminded him of when he was learning to fly.”
She cried when the airplane was taken to the paint shop, because after all, this was the last thing that had not been changed. But she knew the guys at the paint shop would take good care of it. She took pictures as keepsakes of the old familiar paint scheme she had come to love, saying, “I knew there was no way I could change their minds.”
While her beloved Bonanza was at the paint shop, she says, “I needed some comforting. So I went flying with our neighbor, Mr. Henry, in his Bonanza.”
Now, says Lauren, “the airplane has had so many changes.” Like the wingtips. “Dad bought them on eBay and he let me stay up late to watch the bidding because someone else was bidding against us, as Dad really wanted those wingtips. Finally, he just put in a high amount. I guess the other person gave up,” she says, smiling so proudly of her dad. The new tips, Lauren explains, “make the airplane lighter, so it can carry a little more weight.”
What’s it like to grow up in an airpark? “It’s really fun. The fly-ins are fun at Dry Creek, but it is starting to attract more people. We do Young Eagle flights.”
And what else does she enjoy flying? “Helicopters are okay. I kind of like them because you can go straight up.”
I am convinced that Lauren’s attitude, her charm, and encouragement from the older people who surround her will contribute to great accomplishments in the future. The young lady knows the ropes when it comes to hangar flying. As she puts it, “we just sit around and talk about the neatest airplanes.” It’s not the kind of thing one usually hears from an eleven-year old girl.
Mike: It will be awhile before Lauren is ready for college, but when that time comes, she is hoping her dad will have another airplane, so she can have the Bonanza. “It’s the airplane I’ve flown in all my life and it’s very special to me,” she articulates diplomatically, “but I know it’s special to Dad too – he’s used to it, so I might have to be the one to have a new airplane because he might have a hard time [parting with it].”
Lauren is filled with a wonderful spirit and whatever her future, airplanes and aviation will continue to be part of it. For her, the skies are unlimited and the horizons endless.