Introducing Ely Air Lines on Tour

 

ELY AIR LINES

Select Stories from 10 Years

of a Weekly Column

Volumes 1 & 2

by

MIKE ELY AND

LINDA STREET-ELY

Genre: Nonfiction

Categories: Short Stories / Short Stories / Aviation

Publisher: Paper Airplanes Publishing, LLC

Date of Publication: January 29, 2020

Number of Pages: Volume 1:350, Volume 2: 330 pages

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Buckle up and fly with Mike and Linda Ely to discover amazing people, interesting places, and the conquest of flight. Since 2007, readers have enjoyed engaging articles in the weekly newspaper column, Ely Air Lines. Now you can step aboard to enjoy a collection of stories that explore the vast realm of the flyer’s world.

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ELY AIR LINES: SELECT STORIES FROM

10 YEARS OF A WEEKLY COLUMN, VOLUME 1

“A Picture of Courage”

Linda: I met Chris Sullivan as a fellow cross-country air racer in 2016. It was his first race, and he was admittedly nervous.

“I’d always wanted to learn to fly. When I discovered Able Flight, I submitted my application for a scholarship and was selected to come to Purdue University for training.”

Chris’ first flight was in May 2014 in a Sky Arrow, an aircraft equipped with adaptive rudder controls, when he entered Able Flight’s intensive training course nine years after being hit by sniper fire.

It was May 21, 2005. The 256th Infantry Brigade, Louisiana Army National Guard, had been tasked with locating and disarming IEDs just outside Baghdad Airport. As the team worked carefully, the enemy watched. Suddenly, bullets flew, one entering Chris’ neck and exiting his back.

Nobody else was hit. Sergeant Sullivan lay on the ground, bleeding from his neck. He couldn’t move or speak. His vocal cords burned but he felt no pain; the sniper’s bullet had severed his spine. His squad frantically laid down suppression fire and attempted to evacuate him. They were doing their job, just as they had been trained.

Carried to safety behind a Humvee, Chris could hear the radio. Apache helicopters were needed to blanket the area with more suppression fire for Blackhawk helicopters to swoop in for the rescue, but the Apaches were on other missions. He knew they were too far to reach him before he bled to death, but he wasn’t afraid.

He prayed, “Lord, if it’s time to bring me home, I’m okay with that, but I will fight it as long as I can because I have so much more to do.” Unable to speak well, he smiled, hoping it would calm his buddies as his blood spilled out.

Then, over the radio squelched the news: two Apaches were within three miles and on their way, hot and heavy—fully loaded with ammo!

God didn’t bring Chris home to heaven that day, and so began the long, painful road to recovery. Knowing his company would return from deployment in three-and-a-half months, he wanted to greet them, so he asked the doctors for an aggressive rehab plan. That reunion stateside was a great motivator, but once back home in Mire, Louisiana, doubt and fear prowled around him as he fought against post-traumatic stress. What was his purpose, now that he was paralyzed?

Chris found his purpose in helping veterans through the Veterans Administration, with empathy that only someone who has been there can have. Four years later, he joined Louisiana State Representative Rodney Alexander’s staff as a caseworker for wounded warriors.

He shared his story at fundraisers and despite his paralysis, he learned to scuba dive, went skydiving, and became a National Veterans Wheelchair Games silver medalist in snow skiing. And on the second anniversary of being wounded, our hero began dating his future wife, later witnessing another miracle—the birth of their son.

Chris worked hard at Able Flight, in ground school several hours a day and flying twice daily. Then, the night before his check ride, he fell ill with an infection that spread to his bones. Courageously, he fought back for a month and after a full recovery, he returned to Purdue to earn his wings.

Only two years after his first flight, he climbed out of his wheelchair and into the cockpit. The day was hot, so friends helped drape ice-cold cloths on his neck because his body couldn’t regulate temperature.

Engines started, props turned, and airplanes taxied to the runway. There in the Sky Arrow, eleven years after facing death in war, Chris Sullivan taxied in line and looked down the row of race planes. A tear came as he took the starting line, throttled up, and became: a race pilot. The trophy awarded to him symbolizes so much more than finishing first in his class in that race. It is the fight he wins every day and, “as long as I can, because I have so much more to do.”

What an incredible story. Thanks so much for sharing it, Linda.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Mike Ely has logged thousands of hours over more than forty years as a professional pilot. He holds an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple type ratings and a flight instructor certificate. Mike has taught people to fly in small single engine airplanes, gliders, turboprops, and corporate jets. As a freight pilot and an international corporate pilot, he has flown through all kinds of weather, to many places, both exotic and boring. His love for writing was instilled by his father at an early age.

Linda Street-Ely is an award-winning, multi-genre author and playwright. She also holds an airline transport pilot certificate, a commercial seaplane certificate and a tailwheel endorsement. She has air raced all over the U.S., including four times in the historic all-women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic. Besides flying, Linda has a keen appreciation for great storytelling. She loves to travel the world, meet people, and learn about other cultures because she believes great stories are everywhere.

Together, Linda and Mike are “Team Ely,” five-time National Champions of the Sport Air Racing League, racing their Grumman Cheetah, named the “Elyminator,” and dubbed “The Fastest Cheetah in the Known Universe.” They live in Liberty, Texas.

FIND THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  PAPER AIRPLANE PUBLISHING, LLC    PAPER AIRPLANE BLOG

FACEBOOK    TWITTER   INSTAGRAM PINTEREST

  MIKE ELY ON GOODREADS    LINDA STREET-ELY ON GOODREADS 

  MIKE ELY ON AMAZON   LINDA STREET-ELY ON AMAZON 

  MIKE ELY ON BOOKBUB   LINDA STREET-ELY ON BOOKBUB 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

 TWO WINNERS (US only)

Each win an autographed, 2-Volume Set of ELY AIR LINES

Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, January 29, 2021

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CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, 

or visit the blogs directly:

 

1/19/21 Excerpt It’s Not All Gravy
1/20/21 Review V1 Jennie Reads
1/20/21 Review V2 Librariel Book Adventures
1/21/21 Guest Post Forgotten Winds
1/22/21 Review V1 StoreyBook Reviews
1/22/21 Review V2 Reading by Moonlight
1/23/21 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
1/24/21 Author Interview The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
1/25/21 Review V1 Book Bustle
1/25/21 Review V2 Book Fidelity
1/26/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
1/27/21 Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
1/27/21 Top Ten Momma on the Rocks
1/28/21 Review V1 The Clueless Gent
1/28/21 Review V2 Chapter Break Book Blog

 

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5 thoughts on “Introducing Ely Air Lines on Tour”

  1. Linda Street-Ely

    Thanks for the post, Maryann, and thanks, commenters, for your comments! Sgt. Chris Sullivan is an inspiration and we are honored to share his story.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the post.

      When I worked for newspapers, I really enjoyed doing personality profiles of people like Chris, whose lives offered other hope and encouragement through their difficult times.

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