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 3, 2012 A new life for the old Inland

The Liberty Gazette
April 3, 2012
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: Back in February and March last year we shared the story in a five-part series of the Inland Sport airplane, it’s creator, Dewey Bonbrake and his grandson, Lance Borden, who is the proud owner of one of only seven remaining Inland Sports – a 1929 model, disassembled. The excitement grew a few weeks ago when Lance announced he had taken on a partner in the long desired restoration project. So one recent Sunday afternoon a group of us met at a hangar at Ellington Field and loaded the rare antique airplane, piece by piece onto a U-haul truck. Lance and some other guys took the airplane up to an expert restorer in Kansas who has already brought a couple of other Inlands back to glory. We’re anxious to see it fly again some day. This particular airplane, the one Lance has, flew in the all-women’s air race, the Powder Puff Derby. Lance has offered in the past that if Linda wanted to race it in a future Powder Puff Derby he would let her, but I think the rules for minimum horsepower have changed and that airplane would not likely be eligible to compete these days. Still, it has a rich history, having been raced by both Mae Haslip and Marty Bowman, in 1931 and later. Even if she doesn’t race it, it would be great to fly it to the start or finish of the big annual air race next year to show it off. We’re excited for Lance seeing this piece of history and family legacy being brought back to life. It seemed a bit extra special, too, that his son and grandson were there to help load the airplane. A couple of pro photographers were around to document this important step in the Inland’s resuscitation and we all agreed that the photos taken of Lance with his son and grandson next to the airplane must be edited to include their Grandfather Dewey. It’s only proper

Linda: Speaking of racing, the Sport Air Racing League season has begun. I opened the League’s website just as the final grand notes in Arensky’s Overture ~ Dream on the Volga, Opus 16 streamed from my speakers. It was a perfect match for the photo of the day – Bob Mills in his bright red Vans Super Six in about a 30-degree nose up climb-out with his air show smoke on. The 2012 season opener was in Sherman, Texas this past weekend. We’ll have more on that in a later edition. Meanwhile, the second largest fly-in in the world, Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida just celebrated another great year with many new product announcements by several aviation companies. Garmin has a new app for pilots, and ForeFlight unveiled its newest offering, a superior mobile weather data gadget for use in the cockpit.

Also at Sun ‘n Fun began the campaign to build 50 "Fire Hubs" at aviation campsites across the country. The Recreational Aviation Foundation wants to broaden the horizons of pilots and their passengers who fly from one destination to another never exploring what's outside the pilot’s lounge. Campfires and camaraderie make popular aviation gatherings so the nonprofit organization launched this campaign and AOPA sponsored the first Fire Hub, at the Sun 'n Fun campground area. We’ve often said Liberty is a perfect location to fly in and camp out, so maybe one day our airport will join in the fun.

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