Space-A Flight #6: Hickam AFB, Hawaii to McConnell AFB, KS (Wichita)

Posted on Mar 29, 2016

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Today we started our travels kind of early; we left the hotel at 4 AM which translated into waking up at 3:15 AM . . . sleep deprivation!!

We had an amazing flight in a KC135 which turned out to be a military fuel jet.

We were invited to go down into the “boom box.” Since that was a fueling plane, that was the area where you have go lay down on your belly in the “basement” of the plane, and it’s the control center for the hose that goes down to fuel other planes! We were at 39,000 feet at that point. The tech was also telling us that the planes are only 20 feet apart when the fueling in the sky takes place . . . what???!!!! That seems awfully close!

To keep us occupied during such a long flight, Bryan and I watched Lord of the Rings–Two Towers, and we also played the card game Nertz on top of the wooden crates wherein our meal and snacks were placed. Lol, it is such a joy to fly Space-A!

The temps on this flight vacillated from extremely hot to arctic cold. One of the airmen was so very nice and gave me his jacket to wear during the flight!

Then last, but not least, we were invited to sit in the cockpit during landing. They gave me a headset so I could hear what they were saying. It was so very interesting!

I was so glad that it was dark in the cockpit because I got tears in my eyes a couple of times simply reflecting on God’s extreme goodness and the crew’s overwhelming kindness.

Once again, we’re so thankful and excited to fly SPACE-A!!!

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Space-A Flight #5: Charleston, SC to JBSA Lackland/Kelly Airfield, San Antonio

Posted on Mar 8, 2015

Here we are . . . only the Lord and the pilot of this aircraft know how many feet in the sky . . . and on a Space-A flight. This time we are headed to Lackland AFB, which is right outside San Antonio, TX.

Our trek began this morning by departing our home at 4:45 AM and driving to Pope Airfield as it is only fifteen minutes from our home. Here was our ultimate plan:

  • 5:30 AM roll call from Pope AFB, NC to Charleston AFB, SC
  • 9:15 AM roll call from Charleston, AFB to Lackland AFB, TX
  • Get rental car and drive to McAllen, TX
  • Stay with my sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Mark, until Monday, March 10th, as they are spending the winter in Weslaco, Texas
  • Spent the night in McAllen on March 10th
  • Fly out on AA on award flights back into Fayetteville, NC, Tuesday, March 11th (got those flights for only 12.5K miles per person)

Well, we drove to Pope at O’ Dark-Thirty, and the terminal appeared pretty dark. Bryan went inside and there was a fellow who told him that it wasn’t open yet. So he returned to the car, and about five minutes later, three men in AF jumpsuits pulled up beside us and explained that the flight had been pushed to the right (tomorrow).

Bryan and I decided to risk it and see if we could make it to Charleston before the 9:15 AM roll call. We figured that the worst thing that could happen is that we end up missing the flight, and we’d get to spend a lovely day in Charleston. 🙂 Our GPS showed that we had twenty-five minutes to spare, so we sped here (term used VERY loosely), lol, and arrived at 9:12 AM! Praise the Lord!

There were 54 seats available, and we were two of three people wanting to go on this flight, so we made it! After checking in, Bryan ran outside to move our car about two blocks away into the long-term parking while I hung out in the terminal.

That is when they informed us that the flight would be taking off at 2:30 PM. Okay . . . typical “hurry-up-and-wait” military fashion. Not a big deal, HEY! We’re getting a FREE flight!!!

An employee approached me and said that Bryan and I could wait in the “Special Privileges Lounge” when we were finished checking in. It didn’t really compute what that meant until I went to check it out. VERY NICE!! I guess if you’re a certain rank you’re allowed to wait in there. Being the only people in that set of rooms, I took a nap on the leather, and might I add, very comfy sofa! This was AWESOME! Even though our recoveries are coming along amazingly well, my back can still get rather achy at times after many hours of travel and not much movement. I had the best hour and a half nap. What a blessing!

About 1:30 PM, a big pick-up truck came to escort us to the aircraft. Upon driving the 500 or so yards to the plane, we were told that it would be another half hour, so they drove us back to the terminal.

Here we go again . . . back into a huge pick-up and we were driven to the C-17. An airman grabbed our bags, we walked up the flight of steps into the cavernous, empty area, and each took our seat up against the perimeter of the wall.

We are prepared for a 3.5 hour flight. Everyone is given a set of earplugs as it is pretty loud in here. Passengers do not have any restrictions as to movement, wearing seatbelts, activities, etc. When my grandkids traveled on one of these flights quite a while ago, they played kickball down the center of the craft with the children of the only other family on board!!! Can you imagine?

It is not unusual to see people pull out bedrolls and make themselves nice and comfy on the floor.

What can I say about Space-A travel? It is a blessing, a privilege, and quite the adventure! You never really know if you’re taking off or not until that plane is up in the air.

By the way, I was granted the surprise opportunity to sit up in the cockpit for the last half hour before landing!!! It was a beautiful and exciting ride!

Isn’t life grand?

Lisa 🙂

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Update to Space-A Flight #4

Posted on Jun 17, 2013

Good evening!

Well, to catch you up on our most recent Space-A flight, we traveled on June 16th from Hickam, AFB in Hawaii to Charleston AFB in South Carolina on Sunday, June 16th.

Roll call was at 1:00 AM, so we showed up at the terminal around 10:30 PM. Hickam has the tiniest little USO that doesn’t have much (we judge USO’s based upon the kind/amount of candy). 🙂 All they had were little cookies and crackers . . . which years ago would have been pretty cool, but these days I think one word when faced with those options: GLUTEN!

Back to the flights: we were able to stay in the DV lounge (which I had no idea what that was until my first encounter that evening). It is the distinguished visitors’ lounge! It is for either 0-6 and above or Sergeant Majors. What a GREAT place to wait! I have to admit to feeling a bit guilty of that privilege as I poked my head out the door every once in a while to see how things were going out in the real world.

Every single seat on that plane was filled! There were 32 active duty soldiers who were deploying and that left 29 seats available for others who were simply traveling for other purposes. There were many dependents with little ones. Not everyone who signed up was allowed to fly. I felt very badly for the ones who wanted to go but were not selected.

The flight took off around 3 AM and was almost 10 hours in length. It was a great flight! We landed around 6:30 PM East Coast Time and searched for a rental car. We had contemplated spending the night at the Charleston Inn for $53, but just decided to get a rental car and drive on home. The rental car cost $81; the gas was $32, so it was well worth the trip to get HOME!!!

The entire trip from start to finish from NC to Hawaii and then back again cost us a total of $500 as opposed to the original $3000 we were looking at. WHAT A BLESSING!!! God is so very great!

Continuing on our grand adventure!

lisa 🙂

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Update to Space-A Flight #3!

Posted on Jun 15, 2013

The flight from McChord to Hickam went very, very well . . . with one little exception. The heater on the plane was broken, so it was QUITE cold (around 50°). Brrrr! All passengers were forewarned of this new turn of events before the flight began and given the option to “turn back now.” Well, of course, we weren’t going to deny the opportunity to enter the land of sunshine due to a bit of cold weather along the way!!! Blankets and pillows were provided, so that certainly helped.

Now we’re looking for flight #4 to return back to the mainland. Things are looking good for that one, too . . . I’ll keep ya posted!

Cheers, and here’s to new adventures!!!  🙂

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Space-A Flight #3: Fort Lewis, WA to Hickham, HI: June 2013

Posted on Jun 8, 2013

Well, we are heading to Hawaii today! My father-in-law, Thomas Fragas, passed away in May, so we are going to attend his memorial service and also to see the family.

I was supposed to keep our grandkids for ten days after Ashley & Scott’s wedding, but when we found out that Dad’s service was taking place, we changed our plans so that I’d fly back to WA asap (June 4th was the date that had the lowest fare). Praise the Lord, it was a fare that was consistent with my previous purchase, and we’re supposed to be able to get the change fees ($600) reimbursed after I send in a copy of Dad’s homegoing certificate.

We had to fly Bryan here yesterday via a commercial flight ($366 RDU – SEA) so that we could travel Space-A together. There’s a flight that leaves at 1:30 PM today with 50 firm seats, and we’re also Category 1 due to the Red Cross emergency status.

We checked the cost of commercial flights, and going from RDU to HNL on such short notice and right as school was getting out would have cost about $1500 per person!!!

God is so good!

lisa 🙂

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Space-A Trip #2: Adventure Day 6

Posted on Apr 12, 2013

Day 6 of our journey finds us in a rental car heading across the state of Florida. Best of all: IT’S WARM!!!!! Mind you, it was very cold when we left Fayetteville last Saturday, and the weather at Fort Lewis was not exactly balmy. I just Pricelined a room in Jacksonville and saved $44! I love saving money.

By making it to Jacksonville this evening, we’ll only have about 6.5 hours of driving tomorrow. We had such a wonderful time with Brooke, James, and the kids, and WE LOVE TRAVELING SPACE-A!!!

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