The first 4Aviation tour of 2012 was scheduled at the last moment. From some regulars customers we received the request to organize short trips to ‘juicy’ destinations. Due to situations at home or at work, it is not easy for everyone to go on a 10 to 14 day trip.
The 5 time a year exercise Red Flag at Nellis AFB, near Las Vegas, is an ideal place to go. In late December, our preparations for the trip to Red Flag 12-02 began. The trip was quickly booked, and was initially from 24 until 28 January. Two participants, however, had the great desire to visit the large storage base Davis Monthan AFB / AMARG in Arizona. For them we made a custom trip.
On Saturday January 21, the two participants met with the tour leader. Checking in went smoothly and we had plenty of time for our U.S. Airways flight. In the plane, however, we heard a potential big disappointment. Due to strong winds, the aircraft could not make the flight to Philadelphia and we had to make a short fuel stop at Bangor IAP (Maine). The ‘short stop’ became a two hour stop due to local snow and the subsequent de-icing process. The Brazilian P-3AM next to us on the platform offered a little compensation for the lost time. When arriving in Philadelphia we noticed very quickly that we could not get a connection to Phoenix. There were no other flights to the West, so we were stuck for the night. U.S. Airways provided a hotel and food and on Sunday we flew to our first destination, Phoenix IAP.
Around noon we landed in Phoenix and from the plane we saw a number of local KC-135s, three F/A-18 s and five T-6A trainers. We saw the visiting aircraft take off when we picked up our rental car. Tucson was still about a two hours’ drive away and after one tour along the fence of Davis Monthan AFB / AMARG, we went to Tucson International Airport. Here we had hired a small plane to fly a couple of circles over the large storage area facility. This is very impressive and we had good opportunities to take beautiful pictures. In Tucson a US Navy F/A-18C arrived for a fuel stop, and after an amazing sunset we went to our hotel and enjoyed a nice steak.