The Liberty Gazette
July 16, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Climbing off Ellington’s Runway 4 in the hazy morning light, over refineries and across the ship channel, we kept an eye out for other airplanes. We’d stop in at Liberty Municipal Airport for fuel, then on with our journey to visit family and one special boy in Cincinnati. We’d refuel about half-way, in Kennett, Missouri, spending our 4th of July enjoying the freedoms of flight.
Navigation and flight planning have changed with new technology that only recently has found its way into the cockpits of small airplanes. We use iPads with aeronautical charts on them and through a magic box which we connect to through Wi-Fi we pick up information on weather and traffic that are overlaid on the charts. A little blue airplane icon shows us our geo-synchronized position thanks to GPS. Through the ForeFlight Mobile app and the Stratus receiver we receive weather reports and forecasts from airports across the country, available to us in flight with just a few key strokes.
Mike: A nasty occluded front extended from the coast of Louisiana into Michigan and we flew parallel to it the whole trip. Like a frontal fight, cold front versus warm front, neither seemed to be winning, nor moving much during our four-day trip. Churning up the air into billowing thunderstorms, it rained down heavily on Cincinnati. At our stop in Kennett we made the weather-based decision to make our next landing in Indianapolis instead, where we’d rent a car for the rest of the trip. We’d prefer to fly, but even the biggest, most powerful jets are no match for thunderstorms.
As the nurse practitioner entered our grandson’s hospital room, Myles asked for a pass, a brief reprieve from the four walls that had been boring him nearly six weeks for this round. "No pass," she replied, and then quickly asked, "How about a discharge instead?" Myles’ eyes lit up and he shot one exuberant arm in the air, then slamming his fist into the bed, shouted, "Yes!" High fives took over and whoops of excitement rose in the room. After so long with only an occasional pass an 11 year old boy headed home.
We enjoyed "the Grands" for a couple of days, heading back down the road to Indy too soon, yet our spirits buoyed by the latest events. In Indy, Linda’s mom and sister were anxious for an update on Myles. Sadly, we learned that a fever caused Myles to be readmitted to the hospital only a short time after we left.
Linda: After breakfast with Mom the next morning, she drove us to our chariot and waved as we did the traditional fly-by after takeoff. Once again, iPads in hand, we faced the challenge of circumnavigating large storm systems, flying much further west of our most direct route, scooting into Ellington before the bad weather arrived. Even as we tucked the airplane into its secure hangar, our hearts and minds were on a little boy whom we so hope will soon be able to climb in the tree house being built for him at home. My daughter has been dealing with her son’s health crisis for eleven years and there are times I don’t know how she functions. She is my hero, her inspiration well beyond the skies we fly.