A Detour Through Dallas

After seven and a half hours of flight time from Richmond to Little Rock, Capt. Heins gave us until 10:00 hours (Central Standard Time) to get up and check out of our hotel.

Our crank time was 12 noon for the flight to Dallas, but after boarding the aircraft with our gear, we noticed that the Captain's aircraft was not loaded and several crew chiefs were standing around chatting about some maintenance issues. Start up was delayed for more than an hour.

11 NOV 05, Love Field (Dallas) from our aircraft at 1500 feet. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)

I was a passenger for this short trip. Most of the way the scenery was pretty monotonous -- trees, houses and little change in terrain elevation. We made a fuel stop at Texarkana, Ark..

We began our arrival into Dallas/Ft. Worth along the helicopter route that follows Interstate 35 West. Air Traffic Control (ATC) gave us a transponder code and started to follow us on their radar systems, or so we thought.

But within five minutes, ATC started asking us why we had changed course, from heading west along the interstate to heading south. All four aircraft immediately reported over internal radio that ATC was mistaking us for someone else. Then, ATC gave directed us off of the standard helicopter route, though downtown Dallas and over Love Field.

The pilot in command suggested to me over the internal communication system that I grab my camera "cause not everybody gets to fly directly over Love Field," which was luckily clear of other aircraft. We then flew over Texas Stadium, Ranger Stadium, and Six Flags over Texas as ATC tried to get us back on course to land at Meachum International (KFTW) airport, just southwest of the Ft. Worth.

We taxied at dusk to our parking locations, realized we were in the wrong place, and spent the next half hour traversing the airfield to get to the right spot. (Circus music played in the back of my head during this whole exercise. We were showing our need for training.) Finally, we shut down, refueled, got the rental cars and headed for the hotel.

By Bert Stover |  December 7, 2005; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Enroute to Yuma, AZ , Ft. Dix Mobilization , Preparation for Departure
Previous: To Little Rock, Ark. | Next: Heading for El Paso


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Try not to make yourself (the unit) look so bad by saying you were "showing your need for training" just because you were at the wrong location on an unfamiliar airfield. While a very worthwhile effort, your blog is really showing why you are not a writer, and just how inexperienced you are. Let somem of your cohorts proofread you entries, if not for grammar, for content.

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 10:25 AM

This blog badly needs DoD censorship. Even the smallest, most menial mistakes hurt our administration's perfect world image...Come on people! Lighten up. Who wants to serve with those too full of pride in themselves to admit and learn from their mistakes? The same goes for our country's leadership--exercise freedom of speech for those who signed on the dotted line, no matter your viewpoint.

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 11:06 AM

Trust me, even in uniform, I do not follow blindly, and about as middle of the road politically as you can get. My point was about pride not conceit, self respect, and the whole world knowing the color of your underwear and every other trivial detail. Been there done that, got lots of stories myself, including some not so flattering, like anyone.

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 11:11 AM

Practice in peace make for less mistakes in the heat of combat. Sweating now is better than burying friends. (retired USMC)

Posted by: Peter J Peirano | December 9, 2005 12:25 PM

As an Air Traffic Controller at DFW Tower I will gladly work any military aircraft through our portion of class B airspace.

The military is made up of honorable and respectable people, they are usually our country's best. BTW my daughter just returned from Iraq safely, thank God!

I support all the military men and women in the middle east, I wouldn't have it any other way. What I don't support is the reason President Bush invaded Iraq in the first place.

Posted by: Alex Powell | February 11, 2006 11:28 AM

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