EAA is always so much fun. Lots of exciting air frames but also so many interesting people to talk to. Most of the time they are very happy to share their stories and sometimes something they've done can give you an idea of what you'd like to do. For example, my caretakers met an F-15 pilot at EAA and mentioned to him that there was going to be a presentation by the Tuskegee Airmen .
He was thrilled to go listen and it ended up that I went home with him. He's stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. We had a beautiful flight back to North Carolina. There's a photo of the flight in the gallery below. Lots of blue sky and puffy clouds. One of the first things we did was fly about 150 miles out over the Atlantic on a really stormy night. Boy was that crazy weather..... I've been out over the Atlantic before. I even landed on a carrier out in the Atlantic before, but this storm was scary.
There was wind and rain and lightening. I heard the guys saying it was the worst storm they remember ever flying in. I'm glad I'm a flag or I think I might have gotten sick to my stomach.
Our next big adventure was doing something with people from Ft. Bragg. Sorry, I can't tell you more than that, but I can say it was interesting and important.
A few weeks later we spent several weeks training with other planes and equipment in Indiana. Pilots do lots of training. That's so they're ready if they are ever needed.
Then I heard Timber, the pilot I'd been flying with (that's his call sign, of course) calling to ask if I could go on a longer trip with him. He said it might be a bit of time before he would be back to send me home. If I had fingers, I'd really have had them crossed. I really like to go places and meet new people.
Well, my custodians said yes, of course. Timber wasn't sure we were going, but he wanted to have permission, just in case. Sure enough, before very long we were on our way to Greece. Would you believe it? I got to fly over Mt. Olympus and everything. We were flying with the Greek Air Force in more training missions. I got to meet some of them. I know not all pilots are alike, but I have to say, I haven't met any or flown with any I didn't like.
We had lots of fun in that part of the world. We met some really nice pilots and I made some more new friends. After flying in some other countries in the area we went to England, the UK, for a few weeks.
England is really pretty, even in the winter. We were there for the winter holidays. I thought that was really neat, but I think the pilots were a little sad not to be at home with their families. But that's what it's like being in the military. You can't always do what you want to do.
One really, really fun thing we got to do was fly in Wales in some hills and valleys called the Mach Loop. My custodians told me they always thought it was called that because the planes fly through there so fast, but it's actually just an abbreviation of the town name that it's close to, Machynlleth. If you aren't from Wales, the town names can be kind of hard to pronounce. But that's another part of the fun of traveling. You learn so many things.
But, unfortunately, I finally got sent home without Timber. No, I didn't do anything wrong, but from what I heard, all of them were going someplace where nobody was just having fun training, like we had been. Something serious was happening and he didn't want anything to happen to me. I didn't want to come home, but I also didn't want him to be worried about me or worried where I was if he needed to be gone, so I'm back at my base in Wisconsin. But I'll never forget the fun I had. Here's a great article about F-15 Strike Eagles. They are a really nasty airplane.
Bill and Timber at AirVenture 2021 just before I left on my adventure with Timber.