The Liberty Gazette
April 23, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Just back from Lakeland, Florida, where Sun ‘n Fun, the world’s second-largest fly-in logged another year of fun with airplanes. Last year I joined ForeFlight, maker of the best-selling aviation app ever. This was my first major airshow/fly-in to attend as a team member of this premier aviation company, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, with airplanes and aviation fanatics all around what’s not to enjoy? But representing a winner added another dimension to attending an already exciting event.
The six-day long fly-in is a place where air shows happen day and night and many sellers and manufacturers announce new products and features, and pilots fly in to find a good deal, a "show special" price on something they’re thinking of buying.
Hanging out in Hangar C next to us was the world’s largest pilot supply shop, Sporty’s, of Batavia, Ohio and a simulator company on the other side. David Clark headsets and NFlight Cam/Go Pro sat across from us and Aero Shell just another booth over. Any one of these companies attracts a large crowd, and the ForeFlight team spent an incredibly busy six days showing how our great app works on iPads and iPhones.
Some customers were young students who had told their parents about ForeFlight and how it would help them with their flying lessons, and so the parents came to see what it was all about. Once I demonstrated how much the app could do, pre-flight planning, getting a weather briefing and filing a flight plan, en-route information for communication, weather, winds aloft, traffic, fuel availability and prices, important phone numbers, and so much more, parents, each and every time, would turn to their child and say, "We are getting this for you!"
Many existing customers – airline pilots, military pilots, corporate and freight pilots, leisure pilots and student pilots – came by just to say hello, and "I love your product!" Often they just wanted to shake a hand and see the people behind the thing that has, as I heard so often last week, "changed the way we fly."
Speaking of winners, Mike and I had just raced the first Sport Air Racing League race of the 2013 season two days before I left for Sun ‘n Fun. Kevin Eldredge, who races the famous NXT race plane, "Relentless" well over 300 mph at the Reno Air Races, raced with us that weekend and was heading to Florida when he had an engine failure and put the airplane down safely in a farmer’s field in Louisiana. I saw the emails asking if anyone could stop and give Kevin a ride to Lakeland. Three days later Kevin walked through the doorway of Hangar C asking, "Did you hear what happened?" I said yes and gave him a big hug, happy to see him.
In the air or on the ground, it’s rewarding to be part of a winning team. Working with the best and brightest in the industry, brilliant people and cutting edge technology, has been a major switch for me in this mid-life career change from the corporate paralegal profession. Now I can say the sky’s the limit.