The American Adventure 2019
The American Adventure 2019
The planning began in October 2018 when after talking to my friend Paul (Brown) we decided that it was high time we went back to the USA as it would be five years come May (2019) that we were last there together. Paul (Pablo, Herr Braun etc.) and I were last there in May 2014 for a few days and didn’t accomplish all we wanted to.
The trip was split into two sections, the first to see the National Museum of the United States Air Force (USAF) at Wright Field, Riverside, Dayton, Ohio (OH). The second part was to go to the Open House at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (D-M AFB) Tucson, AZ. The trip was tailored to suit both of us and realise both our objectives for going back. Mine in particular was to visit the National Museum of the USAF.
The journey began on Saturday March 16th when I travelled to Paul’s house in West London where thanks to him and his wife I was to spend the night prior to leaving for the USA.
Sunday March 17th 2019
We were up very early and ready for the short journey to Terminal 3 at London’s Heathrow Airport. I was in for a treat as Paul is a frequent flyer with British Airways / American Airlines and he was able to take me into the American Airlines Lounge prior to our flight. www.americanairlines.co.uk / www.aa.com / ba.com it was a very pleasant, unhurried way to begin the journey and even more pleasing to find that there was a buffet style breakfast in the offing. It was very civilised to have breakfast while watching aircraft albeit they were civil and not the Mighty Military that I am so accustomed to these days.
This is a Boeing 787-8 the same type we flew to the USA on
All too quickly or so it seemed it was time to board our flight for the first leg of our trip to Dayton OH. The flight was another ‘first’ for me in that I had never flown on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Our American Airlines (AAL) aircraft the 787-8 series carried the registration N810AN flight number AA87 to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (KORD).
Just eight hours and five minutes later we were in Chicago where it was noon (Central time). We now had a wait for over six hours for our onward connection to Dayton (KDAY), OH. Paul used his charm and his AAdvantage Card to get us access to the AA Lounge at O’Hare. While he ‘spotted’ from the comfort of an arm chair in the Lounge I ate and admit to closing my eyes for a good few minutes.
Our flight to Dayton OH (KDAY) was scheduled to depart at or near to 18:00 local time however there was a delay of over 45 minutes. Our mount for this short hop was a Canadair CRJ-701ER registration N519AE operated by American Eagle. We departed KORD at 18:47 Central Time, forty six minutes after take-off we landed at KDAY where the local time was 20:33 so we had gone back an hour from Central to Eastern Time.
Paul had pre-booked the rental vehicle and the hotel so not long after our bags arrived we were on the way to Beaver Creek to the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Hotel on Colonel Glenn Highway, from our room it was possible to overlook part of Wright-Field.
Monday March 18th 2019
Monday morning we were up early again eager to get to the National Museum of the USAF https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil as it opened. We were not wrong in doing this as there was what seemed like endless busloads of kids also eager to get in and explore this huge museum. It was a joint decision to start at the furthest most building and work back towards the entrance, as it turned out a very wise decision. After four hours we had only seen the exhibits in two and a half areas of the Museum and decided that it was time for lunch. The Museum has an in-Museum dining area which has windows so that you can see the aircraft parked on what was once a taxi-way at Wright-Field, these aircraft comprise a C-17A Globemaster III marked 70025* / ED / Edwards in a red fin band, the full fiscal serial being 87-0025 an AC-130A Hercules marked 41630 (fiscal serial 54-1630) and an EC-135E marked AFMC tail number 00374 (fiscal serial 60-0374). *I’d previously seen this aircraft in 1993 when it was with the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, in California. It was strange to think that an aircraft which was on test only twenty six years previously was now a museum exhibit.
Too give you some idea of the size of the National Museum of the USAF the site is set in 19 acres / 7.67 Hectares of what was Wright Field. The building to the far right of this picture is the newest which opened in 2016 and has a floor space of 160,000 Sq. feet / 14,864.64 M²
The building to the far left split 2/3rd – 1/3rd is the entrance and exit; the restaurant is next to the glass covered section. Photo © USAF Museum
What cannot be seen from the photograph are the three aircraft on the disused taxi-way, the McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle serial 74-0117 coded FF (First Fighter Langley VA) and an F-104A Starfighter that ‘Guards’ the gateway to the Museum. The Starfighters serial is displayed as 60879 / FG879 but its real serial is 56-0754.
In total there are over 360 aircraft and missiles on display in this museum, check out the website for details of exhibits in each section of the museum. Other websites are available to give details such as types, serial numbers etc.
The ‘serial’ is actually the fiscal appropriation year, in other words the year the US Government put aside money to procure an amount of aircraft. The first two numbers denote the fiscal year and the second the procurement number, an example of this being 52-1507. It does not however follow that the aircraft were actually manufactured in that fiscal appropriation year. The fiscal appropriation serials apply not only to the USAF but also to the US Army (USAR). It does not apply to the US Navy or Marine Corps that have an independent system called Bureau Numbers often referred to as the Bu number (No.)
After lunch we made our way back to Hall 2 the emphasis here was the Second World War, where we spent the next three and half hours logging and photographing what we could before it was time to leave at 17:00 local when the Museum closed.
As it was still daylight Paul and I decided to make the most of it and drove the short distance over to Wright-Patterson AFB approximately eight miles away from the Museum. However due to the heat haze we only managed to read off four of the nine C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, the five we couldn’t read were all from the based 445th Airlift Wing. We did however manage to read the three visiting Pittsburgh 911th Airlift Wing 758th Airlift Squadron and just one of the based (445th AW) C-17A’s parked at rest. With no activity that we could see on the base and not wishing to draw too much attention to ourselves parked on one of the by-roads we decided it was time to return to the hotel and have some more food! For us Monday had been a very good day but Tuesday was already looking good.
Tuesday March 19th 2019
Another early start and our first scheduled stop was Champaign Aviation Museum, Urbana Museum also called Grimes Field, OH https://www.champaignaviationmuseum.org/ where we arrived at 09:00 only to find that it didn’t open until 10:00.
My photo of the wall identifying the Museum
However Lady Luck was on our side and we approached a Member of Staff entering the Museum by a side door, a few minutes later Paul and I were inside the Museum talking to the various staff (volunteers) working on various projects the most interesting was a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress which bore the tail number 485813 (the full fiscal being 44-85813) and was a composite airframe using numerous parts of another B-17 serial number 44-83722. This aircraft was still in two sections and talking to the staff they estimated it would be another ten plus years before this was ready once again to take to the sky. Paul and I were given free reign of the Museum and permitted to go to the live side of the building where we saw and photographed a Douglas A-26C Invader that carried the Canadian civil registration C-GHLX coded 32, this aircraft had started life as a Military aircraft serial number 44-35948 construction number (c/n) 29227. This aircraft was another project that the Champaign Aviation Museum hopes to get back into flying condition.
Another interesting aircraft was a Grumman TF-1 (C-1A) Trader which is a variant of the Grumman S-2 Tracker that was used in the COD (Carrier On-board Delivery) role whilst used by the US Navy. The aircraft carried it Bu No. (Bureau Number) 136778 and research shows that this airframe was manufactured in 1955. It had been assigned to the USS Lexington, carried the titles Blue Ghost & Ghost Rider and the code of 16. It had been flown to Grimes Field / Champaign Aviation Museum in January of 2019 wearing its civilian registration of N778SR. The USS Lexington was an aircraft carrier that was launched in October 1925 and assigned the code CV-2 (latter day aircraft carriers are CVN-xx the N equates to Nuclear powered). You can find more about CV-2 at https://usslexington.com/
My photo taken inside the Museum
The aircraft we saw that morning were as follow:
On the grass outside the entrance was a Lockheed Expediter marked as 689 – really 52-10689 a Lockheed C-54H
In the hangar complex were
N105CA Douglas C-47 Dakota – non-flying condition
44-85813 / 44-83722 the composite Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress
44-28866 / NL744CG North American B-25J(N) Mitchell in flying condition
136778 / N778SR Grumman C-1A Trader
NC36794 Stinson 10A formerly with the CAP = Civil Air Patrol
Outside on the airfield side of the hangar
C-GHLX / 44-35948 Douglas A-26C Invader
Our particular thanks go to Jack Bailey, Bill Albers and Randy Kemp for their hospitality, warm welcome and mine of information.
Although entry is free to the Museum there is a donation box in the foyer of the Museum should you feel so inclined post visit.
Loving Helo’s as I do I couldn’t go without photographing this AS.365-N2 Dauphin registration N164CF of the Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, OH (My photo)
A short drive followed and we arrived at our next destination of Springfield-Beckley where we’d hoped to see some of the MQ-9A Reaper UAV* / Drones in use by the 162nd Fighter Squadron Ohio Air National Guard (OH ANG). Alas we were very disappointed as none were out at the time of our visit. Not surprising either as it is very rare to see any of the UAV’s anywhere in the World unless they have been ‘sanitised’ for public exhibition.
* UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
However we did see the four Gate Guardians which comprised of an F-84G 51-0791, F-84F 51-1797, both different versions of the Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre 53-1559 and an A-7D Corsair II 72-0178 / OH. The A-7D’s used to be a familiar sight in the U.K. in particular England back in the 1980s when they’d be taking part in Exercises. I have very fond memories of seeing the A7D Corsair II’s of the 162nd FS OH ANG at airfields like RAF Sculthorpe, in Norfolk.
So that was it and we decided to head back towards Dayton and explore a little of the City and some more museums one of which was Carillon Historical Park, where it was possible to see a restored Wright Flyer that was first manufactured in 1905. To finish off the day and our visit to Dayton OH we spent a couple of hours back at the National Museum of the USAF.
Wednesday March 20th 2019
Another very early start to our day with Paul driving us back to Dayton airport (KDAY) where we were due to depart back to Chicago O’Hare International (KORD). Our flight was scheduled for 07:00 Eastern Time this time aboard another American Eagle Bombardier CRJ-701ER registration N515AE. We took off a little behind schedule at 07:10 and just 44 minutes later we touched down at KORD where it was 06:54 local time (Central).
It was on this flight that I met and sat next to Mr Bruce Billedeaux who it turned out was the holder of a Private Pilot’s Licence so it was a very interesting forty four minutes talking to him about his aircraft and his flying experiences and explaining to him what Paul and I were doing over the next few days.
The next flight was scheduled for 10:45 from KORD to Tucson International Airport (KTUS) in Arizona (AZ). The aircraft for this flight was a far more comfortable Boeing 737-823 registration N899NN. Departure was 10:58 CDT/Local time; I was fortunate to have booked a window seat for this flight and thus I spent most of the three hours thirteen minutes looking out of the window trying to recognise roughly where we were, alas I failed miserably until I saw the Catalina Mountains and I knew we were very very close to Tucson. We touched down at Tucson 12:11 Pacific Time (Local) making a grand total of three hours thirteen minutes of flight. Strange but I actually felt like I had arrived ‘home’ such is my love for this City.
Quickly through the baggage hall and out to our rental car, within minutes we had double checked where Double Eagle Aviation was and spent a few minutes under the approach to the runway watching the F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 162nd Fighter Wing (FW) AZ ANG / Arizona Air National Guard landing in between the commercial aircraft such as we had arrived on an hour or so previously.
An hour later we visited the Pima Air and Space Museum https://pimaair.org/ located at 6000 E Valencia Road, Tucson, the museum lies to the south of the huge Davis-Monthan AFB and the 309th AMARG co-located within D-M AFB.
From there we made our way to my friend Richard Wakefield’s home in the north east part of town in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, this was to be my home for the next seven nights and Paul’s for four nights. Unfortunately Paul had work commitments back in England whereas I didn’t. Tucson is surrounded on three sides by the Tucson, Catalina, Rincon and Santa Rita Mountains they make spectacular viewing from either the ground or the air.
I have known Richard since July 4th 2002 when I was visiting other friends in Tucson AZ, I was introduced to Richard and we immediately clicked none more so than when he told me he served on CV-61 USS Ranger during the era of the Vietnam War in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Thursday March 21st 2019
After a fairly leisurely start to the day Paul and I set off out for the day, albeit we had asked Richard to join us he declined. From Richards we drove through some rather stunning countryside until we reached I-10 (Interstate 10) and began travelling north towards Mesa AZ.
On the way up I-10 we passed by Marana airfield, here co-located is the Arizona Army National Guard Helicopter training facility called WAATS. WAATS stands for the Western ARNG Aviation Training Site further clarification is that ARNG stands for Army National Guard. Other than making an overflight of Marana there is positively no way of seeing into or gaining access to WAATS. However, while driving up I-10 we did see a number of the WAATS based Airbus Helicopters EC-145’s referred to by the US Army as the (L)UH-72A Lakota [LUH – Light Utility Helicopter]. We also saw a few of the based Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawks (made famous by the movie Blackhawk down) training near to Silver Bell.
We branched off I-10 and drove towards Casa Grande AZ in search of a collection of aircraft believed to be in storage at the airport. We located the hangars with ease but all we could see from the outside was one aircraft a Consolidated PB4Y-2 Vultee wearing a civilian registration N2871G, research shows that this airframe once served with the US Coast Guard (USCG) and allocated a Bu No 66302. We did try to access the hangar but unfortunately the owner of the collection was busy ground running the Vultee and his staff were reluctant to show us around the hangar without his permission. Another one for another day and now we know where it is and ‘allegedly’ what’s inside we can either phone or email in advance.
On then to Mesa; a good few changes in the last five years since Paul and I were there, once again the collection we wanted to see at Mesa airport was closed to the Public. We saw what we could and then moved on over to the Commemorative Air Force Museum where there too had been a number of changes to the exhibits and aircraft in flying condition. After an hour or so there we decided to move on further and headed for Goodyear airport.
The only aircraft that drew my attention were two Dornier Alpha Jets, most likely ex-Luftwaffe examples but due to the heat haze neither Paul nor I were able to read their registrations. The aircraft had been painted a dull grey since their arrival in the US / Goodyear airport.
Yet again we moved on, this time our goal was Luke AFB and their F-35 Lightning II’s. It has been many years since I was last at Luke AFB and there are so many changes brought about by increased security due to the risk of terrorist incidents. It is impossible to see into the base save for one area that being Northern Ave close to N 143rd Ave. On the day we were there the F-35’s were practising their aerial demonstration. I’m guessing that there must have been 100 plus people all along Northern Ave watching the display. However be warned there are signs all along this road that warn you of no parking and under ‘normal’ circumstance the Cops/Police will move you on.
Paul and I were lucky this day, the Cops were evident and some actually acknowledged the crowds with a wave as they drove past. Actually we were really lucky seeing flying the following F-35’s, one Turkish Air Force (contract since cancelled by the US President) two Nederland’s AF, four Norwegian Air Force and ten of the based 56th Fighter Wing examples. We were also fortunate to see seven of the Singapore AF F-16 Fighting Falcons one of which was wearing special markings. All in all we had been very fortunate in what we saw and were able to photograph.
We stayed at Luke until the light started to fade, then we were on another mission retail therapy! Paul loves to shop and I have to say after a day of spotting it is good to relax in a slightly different way. All I purchased was a very over-priced Baseball cap which was a prerequisite for Saturday.
We stopped off for something to eat on the way and called Richard to let him know exactly what we were doing and a rough ETA for our arrival.
Friday March 23rd 2019
Another fairly early start to the day saw us going across country towards Coolidge AZ, our mission today was to find a number of both preserved and flying condition former Military type aircraft.
On first arriving we couldn’t find anyone to seek permission from to view the aircraft until a very affable man in a Golf buggy came and spoke to us. He was the Airfield Manager James Myers, he said we could have free reign of the airfield except for the Army part.
We then started to walk around the site, being mindful to keep out of the long grass or poking our fingers into holes etc. the thought of getting bitten by a Rattlesnake did not rate high on my list of things to do. One of the first aircraft to taxi past us was a Shorts SH.360 also referred to as a C-23B by the US Army albeit the three of this type and two SH.330 Sherpas also referred to as C-23’s now wear US civil registrations.
This is the Shorts SH.360 / C-23 taxi-ing towards the active runway, you can clearly see the former military serial 88-8168 displayed as 88168 on the tail fin and the civil registration would be N789WW (My photo)
Alas we were not going to be able to see the majority of the former military aircraft we wanted to see as they were locked away in their hangars and the Airfield Manager did not have keys to those facilities, again another day and prior notice ‘might’ allow us to see to see them.
Also on the site were three partly complete and one nose section of former military Lockheed C-130A Hercules all looking rather forlorn minus many of their parts, engines etc. and left to rot in the searing heat of the Arizona sun. Having spent a couple of hours at Coolidge it was time to move on and back towards Tucson. Once again driving past WAATS / Marana seeing more of the LUH-72’s in the air space around the airfield.
Our next port of call was Avra Valley or as it is now called Marana Regional Airport. You get the distinct feeling approaching this airfield that visitors and in particular aviation enthusiasts are definitely not welcome. Nowhere was open thus no-one to talk to, we did our best not to draw to much attention to ourselves using only small binoculars from within the car to try and identify the airframes on the airfield. We managed about a dozen or so this way before feeling it prudent not to hang about any longer. More research on this airfield shows that it is owned by Evergreen International (as is Marana) which allegedly has links to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) so its little wonder there is no welcome mat for aviation enthusiasts.
Back down I-10 towards Pima Air & Space Museum (PASM – Pimaair.org), lunch, another wander around the exhibits and the rest of the afternoon to finish off Paul and I sat either in the car or stood in the Car Park of the museum and watched the USAF Thunderbirds Aerial display team practising their demonstration flight as well as watching other aircraft like the based C-130J Hercules landing.
That evening Richard had invited a few of his friends to meet us at a restaurant they favoured, they were Steve & Cathy Hutchins and Lewis & Sue Anderson. Tucsonans tend to eat early, normally around 17:00 so we cut short our stay in the PASM Car Park and drove up to the Olive Garden Restaurant at 5410 E Broadway. Fortunately Richard had booked us in; the queues were amazing for that time of day!
After that dinner we set off back to Richard’s and from memory we all turned in early as tomorrow was going to be a very early call.
Saturday March 23rd 2019
Today was another BIG reason for coming to Tucson as it was Open House at D-M AFB. We arrived on the outskirts of the Base just after 07:00 first trying to gain access to the base via the N Wilmot Rd Gate only to find it was closed, but it was a bonus as there sitting outside the Navy Operational Support Centre was a TA-4J Skyhawk Bu No 153526, which was new to me.
We were told by the Security Police that all access was via the Craycroft Entrance so we trundled back to this entrance sat in line moving very slowly forward to the control post to find that we were way too early to gain admittance and were turned away. Fortunately we found a parking space not too far from the entrance and as the time for admittance came close others like us once again joined the line. Success; Craycroft takes you right past what is called Warrior Park, where there’s a collection of retired Military aircraft that in some way or other have had an association with Davis-Monthan AFB.
Our parking area was close to the A-10 Thunderbolt II sun shelters on that side of the base, however the entrance was about 5/8th mile – 1 Km from where our car was parked. There were signs all over the parking area about ‘No large camera bags’ my camera bag was no bigger than a small handbag / purse and I checked with one of the Security Police if this would be okay. He cleared it with me saying “Yes that’s okay Sir”, we set off for the entrance, as I/we approached the Security Police Sergeant called me over and said “No camera bags allowed”. I felt like arguing but then I thought I really want to see the show! Back I walked to the car while Paul and Richard went through. That walk to and from the car took me about 30 minutes, and then I too had to go through the security screening process to gain access to the air show.
It was all worth it though, or so I thought at the time. Alas many of the airframes such as the Lockheed C-5M Galaxy, the McDonnell-Douglas KC-10A Extender, a 43rd ECS Lockheed EC-130H I had seen previously either in the USA or at home in the UK. However, there were some really nice surprises, two Lockheed-Martin F-22A’s from Alaska, and an almost new HC-130J from the 79th RQS helped to swell the numbers in my log book. It was a very hot but great day out and well worth the free entrance fee (lol). I guess the highlight of the afternoon was watching the F-35 Lightning II performing the display we’d seen on Thursday up at Luke AFB.
By about 16:00 the show was winding down, especially as the USAF ADT Thunderbirds had effectively closed the show. No matter which team it is I find it impressive that these teams can perform the manoeuvres they do with aircraft of the size and speed they are using. However none of the foreign air arms teams can beat the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team called the Red Arrows.
So that was it, an amazing day out in great company and some 1,000 plus photo records of the day. It was however a little slow in places with long periods of non-flying demonstrations. I know one shouldn’t compare a free show to the like of the Royal International Air Tattoo (airtattoo.com) but the Americans [USAF] should invite Foreign Air arms and or the US Navy, US Army, US Coast Guard and or US Customs & Border Patrol to help ‘bulk out’ the show.
Naturally enough on the way back to Richard’s we stopped off for dinner as no-one was in the mood for cooking only eating! Pinnacle Peak (pinnaclepeaktucson.com) was the venue on E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson. Although we’ve dined there before I feel that the standards have slipped, despite booking in advance there was a long wait to be seated and the service was abysmally slow, but hey it was Steak and well, not so much of it as on previous visits.
Sunday 24th March 2019
Paul was up and out really early for his flight back to the UK, he’d taken the rental car so now it was just me and Richard left to our own devices. Naturally with nothing planned I decided that a lay in bed was called for.
I think it was about 10:00 that Richard drove us out to a Breakfast restaurant where I had my usual of scrambled eggs, sides of bacon and sausage with toast & jelly oh and lots of coffee. Richard is the only American I know that doesn’t drink coffee, there’s not a sign of it anywhere in his house so I had to have several mug fulls while out at breakfast.
Internal Addo fuel tanks filled we set off back to the house where we sat and watch a number of War documentaries on the History Channel. A brief interlude found us at Safeway obtaining dinner for that evening; I have never seen T-bone steaks that big and they sure tasted good later that evening in a nutshell that was Sunday, a real day of relaxing and doing nothing too strenuous.
Monday March 25th 2019
Another late start to the day with breakfast being taken at Viv’s Café just 2.5 miles from Richard’s located at Bear Canyon Centre off the E Catalina Hwy & E Tanque Verde. As always a very pleasant welcome from the staff there and as you’d expect the food is good, of course do NOT forget the coffee.
On the way back to Richard’s we called in at McDonald Park of N Harrison Rd and had a stroll around the area taking in the scenery and getting a little exercise following breakfast. That was it for the day so it was back to Richards and back to the History Channel.
Tuesday March 26th 2019
An early push from Richard’s and headed off to Tucson International Airport, actually we were going to S Apron Dr to Double Eagle Aviation doubleeagleaviation.com where I had booked a flight for Richard and I over the 309th AMARG aka the Bone Yard scheduled for 07:00. It’s very nice to be remembered after five years by the CEO Tim Amalong and his partner at Double Eagle Aviation Jim White.
Alas things didn’t go to plan as our Pilot Eric Byrne had become stuck in traffic on his way in from Oro Valley where he’d only recently moved to. A little before 08:00 we all climbed aboard the Cessna 172M registration N80187, pre-flight checks completed we taxied towards the holding point for Tucson’s runway one-one right (11R) final Magneto checks, clearance given to take off and at 08:02 we left the ground.
We had hoped to fly at between 3,000 & 3,500 over D-M AFB and the 309th AMARG, however D-M’s Air Traffic Control were having none of it and ordered our pilot to climb to 6,000 feet, quite disappointing for me even though I had my telephoto lens on the camera. Still I did manage to get quite a good selection of photos from the flight and all too quickly the flight was coming to an end. For landing we were given runway one-one left the main runway where the commercial and military traffic landed and took off.
My bonus that day was that we’d have to taxi past the Arizona Air National Guard ramps where I knew there was a rare selection of aircraft parked up. We had a very nice slow taxi past the ramp area where the camera didn’t stop clicking. Not only were there the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s from the 162nd Fighter Wing AZ ANG parent unit but also from the KLu Det. (Royal Netherlands AF) but the biggest bonus was seeing and clearly photographing five (5) Iraqi AF F-16 Fighting Falcons out of the eight I’d seen a few days previously whilst with Paul. To say my day was made is probably an understatement, one very happy Addo.
From there back to Viv’s for breakfast albeit a little late in the morning, Richard however did not eat! Only two hours later we were to meet up for lunch with Roz Montgomery another friend I have known since 2002. Lunch was at Roz’s favourite Mexican restaurant called El Charo located just north of Tanque Verde Rd on N Sabino Canyon Rd.
That was really a splendid way to end my stay in the United States and in particular in Tucson AZ. It was going to be a very early start to my day the following day so cases packed the evening before I lay my head for the final time of this visit in Tucson AZ, USA.
Wednesday March 27th 2019
And so it was time to go back to the UK after what had been another great time in the United States of America. Richard kindly drove me to Tucson International Airport (KTUS) for my first flight of the day from Tucson to Dallas Fort-Worth (KDFW) Texas (TX).
Departing at 08:47 the Boeing 737-823(WL**) NG*/MAX of American Airlines on flight AA 42 lifted from Tucson’s runway one-one left and climbed away into the clear blue sky over Arizona. Just one hour and thirty eight minutes [1 Hr 38 mins] later we touched down at KDFW where the local time was 12:25. Little did I know at the time that I had actually flown on the ill-fated Boeing 737 MAX twice, [the first time being from KORD to KTUS] which at the time of writing (October 11th 2019) the type is still grounded around the World.
*NG – New Generation, **WingLets
Dallas Fort-Worth airport is huge and for me it was necessary to take the train from the Terminal I arrived in to Terminal D where my ride home was going to be departing from.
The flight, number AA20 was scheduled to leave KDFW at 15:50 local time, however for whatever reason that was not passed on to us passengers and we did not actually take-off until 16:49 local (CDT) time. The aircraft for my flight home was a Boeing 777-323ER registration N717AN, the ‘ER’ meaning it was an Extended Range version of the Boeing 777. I admit that I remember very little about the flight back to Heathrow all I do know is that the fuel taps must have been fully open all the way as we arrived back at London’s Heathrow Airport (EGLL) one minute before schedule, not too shabby when you consider we were fifty nine (59) minutes late leaving Dallas Fort-Worth where the local time was 01:24 and it was still yesterday in Tucson AZ where the local time was 23:24. Is it any wonder that travellers suffer from jet-lag if they have to do journey’s like that?
Picture from the Internet no author found to credit.
A very welcome sight having negotiated, baggage reclaim, Border Control and Customs was my Chauffeur for the journey home, Mr Neil Osborne from Kirkham’s Chauffeur Services kirkhams.co.uk one of my former colleagues and friend from my time working for the Kirkham Group. By 08:30 local time Neil had smoothly and effectively negotiated the M25 and delivered me and my baggage to my home address. Another chapter of Addo’s Aviation Adventures came to a close.
All the pictures in the article unless credited otherwise were taken by me the author Alan J. Addison aka Addo. If you’d like to use those I took then please feel to do so but crediting me.