When Mike Denton of Early leaves for work in the evening, he and his wife, Ashleigh, don't have a lot to say to each other.
In fact, their conversation is strictly professional.
That's because Mike Denton is a pilot for Martinair, the company that contracts with UPS to fly UPS packages. When Mike flies away in a Cessna Caravan and Ashleigh is on duty at Brownwood Regional Airport, Ashleigh talks to her husband on the radio the same way she talks to any other pilot.
Ashleigh is one of the most recent hires at the Brownwood airport. She started working there not quite a month ago as a service operator/lineman. Mike has been on the job with Martinair for a little longer - since April.
The Dentons moved here with their two daughters - Skyley, a fourth-grader, and Kayleigh, who is in the first grade - from Tulsa, Okla., where Mike had been working as a flight instructor for the previous four years.
The 32-year-old pilot has been flying for 11 years. He became fascinated with airplanes when he lived near the airport at Okmulgee, Okla. He remembers when, at age 3, he rode around on his father's shoulders at the airport and looked at planes.
"I've always known I belonged in the sky," Mike said.
He likes flying the big Caravan, which is powered by a single turboprop engine. It's a good plane, Mike said, and will carry anything that can be squeezed into the cargo area.
In a nearby hangar, Will Dodd, an employee of Brownwood Flying Service, worked methodically on a small homebuilt biplane called a Starduster. Dodd was rewiring the plane's electrical system.
The Dentons walked into the hangar to look at the biplane and talk with Dodd and Pete Michaud, who owns Brownwood Flying Service.
Michaud said he has flown the Starduster and is "very squirrelly," and probably the most difficult plane he has ever flown.
Ashleigh Denton said she loves her job. She likes talking to people and learning about the pilots and the planes at the Brownwood airport, where she's getting to know the "regulars."
She's had busier days, such as last Saturday, when visitors to the Brownwood airport included a jet and a turboprop plane flown by a state senator. It was the first day, in fact, she worked without supervision. "It went just fine," she said.
When she talks on the radio with her husband, Ashleigh said, there is no chit-chat. She talks to him the way she talks to any other pilot.
But "it's always nice to know the person personally that you're speaking with," she said.