The Liberty Gazette
November 1, 2011Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: The gent giving our airplane a make-over will take hundreds of photos during the strip down and re-paint process. He says he’ll produce a cool video for us when it’s all finished, which led to a discussion about the video we made a few years ago in support of the Liberty Municipal Airport.
In the fall of 2007 Mike uploaded the final version of “Tango Seventy-Eight” to YouTube (T78 is the FAA’s identifier for the airport). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wMuNy08xQQ. The “hit counter” now registers about 12,000. Our goal was to promote our local airport, which seemed to have little support. We hoped to generate positive attention on the publicly owned asset, the little country airport with enormous potential to give back to the community many times over. While our position on the value of airports is known, what may not be is the story behind the video, more specifically, the story behind the song.
Mike: In the process of collecting video we filmed trains passing by, parades through town, and scenes that give the flavor of our community. We recorded air-to-air scenes of Steve Johnson’s RV-6A over the top of the city, fly-bys over the runway, and local pilots and airplanes, capturing raw images to create the video. But what to do for background music? We could either get permission to use a published, copyrighted song or we could have something original written.
Linda: I thought the latter would be easier as I have a cousin who is a very talented musician. Mark was willing to create the music, but said he didn’t know much about airplanes, so I’d have to write the words.
About that time we were having lunch in a Boston Market in Tucson, a quiet atmosphere where the music was played low enough we could actually have a conversation, when I heard some words to a song playing over the restaurant’s speakers that caught my attention. I said to Mike, “Did you hear that? They said Learjet!” The low volume made us strain to make out the words. I searched the Internet but came up with nothing that resembled the song we heard. Calling Boston Market later proved fruitless as the young employee, bless his soul, didn’t know where the music came from. I had a hunch it was received via satellite. That would direct my next investigative step. Surely, there are Internet “fan sites” for people listening to satellite radio. They would have message boards. Bingo! I found one.
My question posted on the message board brought a few wrong answers at first – Moody Blues and others were mentioned. But this song wasn’t that old. Within hours I had my answer. Someone named the band, the song, and posted the lyrics. With that I located the songwriter for permission to use the very fitting song, “If I was a Learjet.” Sean Kelly, song writer and lead singer of the Vermont group The Samples was thrilled with the idea of his music being used in such a video and quickly gave his blessing.
Mike spent about 50 hours editing, and Sean’s song was perfect for the message, leading AvWeb, the world’s most widely read online aviation magazine, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to call it a “template” for all future airport promotional videos. That’s all good, but what really matters is that the community knows what an asset we have.