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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September 13, 2011 Justice, gifts, and investment ideas

The Liberty Gazette
September 13, 2011
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: True story: a helicopter pilot who wanted to go fishing with some friends was concerned about the level of the Mississippi River so he borrowed a friend’s Cessna 172 and flew his fishing buddies over the river to check it out. On the way back one of the fishing-buddy-passengers asked if they could fly over his house. That’s not an unusual request. In fact, normally in a “discovery flight,” the first flight one would take prior to beginning flight lessons, instructors often guide the flight over the prospective student’s house. It’s also not unusual for non-pilots to have difficulty orienting to the view from above. So the pilot pointed out to his friend where his house was – and the white pickup truck that was parked nearby. It was then that the passenger realized there were a couple of men taking things out of his house. He called police and a nearby uncle from his cell phone aboard the circling 172. The uncle rushed over and stopped the thieves, who tried to explain away their actions, but then “cried uncle” when he pointed upward and told them they were being watched. The burglars fled the scene, the Cessna followed, enabling the plane load of fishing buddies to witness apprehension of the thieves from 1,000’ up.

Linda: Need a gift idea for your favorite pilot? The Southwest Flying Club of Houston is offering a chance for one lucky pilot to win a one hour session in the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner simulator at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Raffle tickets are $10 each, or $100 for 11. Proceeds benefit Angel Flight South Central/Grace Flight of America, a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Email Pete Perez, President of the Southwest Flying Club and an active Grace Flight pilot volunteer, at He will email you a ticket number and at their annual benefit dinner September 17 they’ll draw the winning ticket. You don’t have to be present to win.

Mike: Ever thought of going into the airline business? Aeropodium and Airline Visions are offering a new aviation workshop October 5 in Washington, D.C. on how to start an airline. The workshop covers airline business plan development and will include Introduction to the Airline Industry, Generic vs. Airline Business Plan, Common Business Plan Mistakes, Non-Disclosure Agreement, Elements of the Airline Business Plan, Implementation Plan, Management and Support Team, Risk Factors, Capitalization Plan, Certification, and Success Strategies. The cost to attend is only $399 but we’re wondering if they’re offering a discount to any present airlines that have previously filed bankruptcy, received government bail-outs, or merged to avoid failure.

Linda: If an airline isn’t quite your cup of tea, perhaps you’d like to invest in General Aviation – GA encompasses all aviation that is not airline or military. The GA industry is growing in China. The freedom to fly one’s own airplane has been foreign to that country, as has freedom in general, but now they’re building infrastructure and opening up low-altitude airspace for GA operations. The Chinese government recently allowed the first GA flight through Chinese airspace when Tennessee businessman Wei Chen flew his TBM 700 around the world, making an historic landing at Beijing Capital International Airport. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will be holding a China General Aviation Summit in Beijing later this month, bringing American ideals to a Communist nation. Let’s hope it has far reaching effects. 

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