The Liberty Gazette
September 10, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Mike: Another blatant act of zoomarama was committed recently by aerial speed junkies. Fantastic Midwestern August weather greeted air racers as they zipped around the city known as the auto racing capital of the world, Indianapolis, causing smiles to appear on the faces of sponsors, volunteers, racers and race fans, from newborns to seniors.
Linda: My nephew Levi made up the other half of Team Ely this time. "Awesome! Simply awesome!" were his words when they returned from the course. He went to an aviation camp earlier this year and this was the first real time he was able to practice the navigation principals and skills he learned there. For his services he was rewarded with a first place trophy and an hour flight lesson after the race from my favorite flight instructor.
Mike: I had as much fun teaching Levi new things and introducing him to new experiences during that flight lesson. Like anyone who is enthusiastic and prepared to learn, he absorbed what he was taught and did a great job performing the maneuvers. He even did his first landing. He’ll be a great pilot someday.
Linda: Many stories like Levi’s are overlooked because they occur off the race course and he wasn’t the only person to experience post-race euphoria.
Case in point: One racer’s generosity and enthusiasm won the day for a fan that came to see airplanes and wound up a passenger on a fun after race flight. You know how you hold up your hands, palms out, showing all ten fingers / thumbs? When asked how the flight was on a scale of one-to-ten Mark opened and closed his hands "in tens" several times. Probably in his 50’s now, Mark flew once in an airplane as a youngster but hasn’t since then. He wanted to join the Air Force but his eyes are not good, and a doctor has told him he will lose his vision soon. Let that soak in. He’s always wanted to fly but has been unable to. One racer’s pivotal action changed the day. While he can still see, Mark was invited by Dave to take to the air and ride the wind, leaving gravity’s grasp, breathing in moments he will cherish forever in freedom of flight.
Mike: The chance to see airplanes up close brought out families with small children, too; like the family with several children who were playing kickball at a park nearby and upon seeing race planes fly overhead piled into the car to find out what was going on. They ended up munching on popcorn and snow cones, jumping in the bounce house, chasing balsa wood gliders, and walking up close to the airplanes after they landed.
Linda: Jorge, a new employee at the airport who is working toward earning his aircraft mechanic license brought his wife and their seven children to see Planes – we’d all gone to the premier the night before the race. The family travels together in a small bus, and race day would be the first time the children would see airplanes up close. Even my mom’s broken shoulder didn’t keep her at home. She’s a real trooper, and loves these air races.
Mike: We hope that those who joined us learned a little more about airplanes and went away from the experience with a new horizon to appreciate.