Well, I’m finally here in Chile! 🙂 And let me say, it’s been one hell of a day. For those of you who have worked with the military, then you know first hand what I’m about to say. All the best plans go out the window. So let me give you a quick rundown of my day.
After we finally got the which bags go in which aircraft dilemma solved, it was off to billeting and get processed to get on our 161st ARW KC-135 flight courtesy of the Arizona Air National Guard! With over 60 Maintainers, pilots, public affairs, and two media guys on 2 planes, it was fun separating who goes on what plane and where their luggage goes. And when a freak thunderstorm threatened to cancel our flights, we just waited for it to pass. Eventually it did and we made it out to the aircraft. And once again there was confusion as to which aircraft was ours. Fun.
And of course, once we are all boarded and stowed, we were then informed that there would be only one tanking during the entire flight! WTF!?! We were supposed to drag the F-16’s the whole 10 hours down; ensuring at least a dozen contacts. But it just wasn’t meant to be. They ended going with the KC-10 instead. And really, it’s not that big of a deal. And I understand that this is something that was out of our control. What can do yo do? And of course the only refueling was in pitch black. Fun! I hardly got any shots, but interesting none the less.
And that freed up the 10 hour flight to nap, watch a movie, and stare at the crate in front of you. Or to just do laps around the plane.
The Crew from the 161st ARW was awesome and let me hang out with them in the cockpit. I got to listen to the comms and it helped pass the time. They also helped me get an air to air shots of one of the -16’s before it left us. Very nice of them.
And after 10 long hours we finally arrived in Santiago. I got to sit in the jump seat on landing and our -135 got to land right after the Airbus A380 (the new double decker airplane), which was very cool. As we taxied down the runway, there must have been hundreds of people snapping pics of us.
As the A380 approached the ramp of FIDAE, there were two fire trucks giving it a water canon salute. Our pilot got on Ground Freq and asked jokingly if we could get a wash down too….but Ground replied “Sorry REACH 6045, but you aren’t big enough.” 🙂
Well, I’m off to bed. The pisco sour and piscola are starting to hit. I think this is going to be a great trip. 🙂 A special thanks to the crew of the 161st ARW for all of their hospitality.