Flying with the Air National Guard involves loading checked bags and luggage the day before the flight. All cargo is loaded into big wooden crates that are strapped all over, so that nothing slips around.
We had a 6:45 a.m. breakfast run and then a passport check. Finally at 8:30, we were bussed to the military part of the airport where we walked out to the C-130 Hercules cargo plane.
The interior of the plane reveals all of the equipment, wiring, and ducts that make an airplane work. There is a steel platform at the front for the pilots, a bulkhead separation, and then a seating section with the cargo right behind the passengers; there are not separations between these. The seating runs along the sides of the plane and down the center with the passengers facing one another and sharing the leg space. The seats are long benches separated by seat belts, and the back is a web of straps.
Once we arrived at the Air National Guard base in Scotia, New York and were cleared by a customs official, we piled into taxi vans for the 45-minute ride to the Albany, New York airport. From there, I flew to Baltimore where I had just a few minutes in the airport, a very quick walk to the next plane!
One more flight took me home to Cleveland, Ohio where guitars throughout the airport welcome travelers.
My daughters met me with a welcome sign, and we were headed for home!
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