The Liberty Gazette
July 23, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: I looked forward all day to getting back to Liberty after work, to meet with local Girl Scouts at the airport. While working with Scouts and other groups is always fun, this was special because it would be where we live, at an airport we have put a lot of time, energy, and personal expense into over the years. With Jose Doblado and the immeasurable contributions of his amazing wife, Debbie Mabery, the Liberty Airport is once again heading in the right direction; their open invitation to the community to learn how valuable it is will continue up a winning path.
Greeted by several of the young ladies in the parking lot, we walked into the terminal building to get acquainted. There were a few male siblings along for the trip and they certainly added to the fun. As luck would have it, just after introductions, we heard a plane landing, so out the door we went to meet the pilots. The middle-aged student pilot (who was just stopping in with his instructor while getting ready for his check ride on Saturday) had no warning of what he was about to encounter. Excited Scouts were eager for a peek inside the little Cessna 152 and the owner/student pilot was gracious and patient as several children climbed up inside his airplane, pointed to the gadgets inside and asked a million times, "what’s this?" He stayed as long as there were questions and portrayed a positive image of pilots.
Jose and Debbie had arranged for a Piper Comanche 260 to be available for inspection by the curious Scouts and as luck would have it (again!), John Griffin happened to arrive at his hangar just in time – not to wipe bugs off his beautiful Cessna 182, as he thought was his plan, but to open up his airplane for wide eyes and fascinated fingers to explore, learn, and become intrigued with the world of airplanes and the idea of flight now open to them.
A great teaching opportunity presented itself when our 152 student pilot began to head back out for more practice. Inspired by the rolling package of rivets, sheet metal and a whirling prop discussions arose about taxiing, running up the engine at the end of the runway before take-off to be sure it all works, and interesting facts about airplanes and traffic patterns. We were treated to a very special low pass and we all waved to the visitor wishing him well as he whizzed by, then climbed and banked toward his next destination.
The Girl Scouts (and their brothers who joined them) had paid attention when we talked about parts of the airplane, smartly answering when we quizzed them, and came up with even smarter questions of their own.
The children might say the highlights of their field trip to the Liberty Municipal Airport were sitting inside airplanes and watching one land and take off again. But every time I saw young eyes sparkle with wonder and felt little arms wrap around me as the words, "This is the best thing ever!" danced up to my ears, I found my own highlights.
It’s a busy season. Coming up: AirVenture, the world’s largest convention – a week-long fly-in, air show and trade show, then the Indy Air Race. I better get packing. Till next time, blue skies.