What should one do when a friend askes you on a Wednesday evening to join him for a one week trip to Texas leaving on the next Saturday ? You act !! First of all you ask for some days off at work. Second you ask for some days off at home. And then you go. Three days later, on Saturday October 26th 2013, Raymond and I flew with KLM A330-220 PH-AOH (in Business Class off course) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). After a 9-hour flight we arrived at DFW. We rented a nice Volvo S80 (2012 Model) at Avis. Because we were arriving on a saturday the only option we had was Fort Worth Alliance as the other airbases didn't fly in the weekend.

In the afternoon we arrived at Alliance and walked straight to a aircraft handling company. The guy who worked this day, Sam, understood our hobby and walked with us to the platform. Two Texans and a Talon from Sheppard were resting on the ramp together with a Navy Texan. A nice beginning of our trip. After a big thank you we drove to our Motel 8 just one mile from the runway of NAS Fort Worth JRB/Carswell. After some difficulties we found it. In the meanwhile we were pretty starved so we first drove to a hamburger joint which was the most nearby. It turned out to be Woody Creek BBQ in the Ridgmarr Mall in Fort Worth. After stuffing our mouths full with fast food we drove back to the Motel for a good night sleep. Due to the jetlag we hit the sack at about nine to be awake again at around one. Jetlags suck big time !

After watching some T.V., Facetiming and sleeping we went to the frontdesk for our breakfast at around six. With the first ray of light we drove to NAS Fort Worth to do some recon for the next day. After that we went to Meacham International Airport to visit the Veterans Memorial Air Park. But this Museum was still closed. This was no problem as most aircraft were decent to photograph outside the fence. After this we went to Alliance again. Sam was also working this Sunday so we had the opportunity to enter the platform once again. This time to find six new Texans (and the same Talon from the day before). Great guy, this Sam. Our last visit of the day was the Cavanaugh Flight Museum at Addison/Cavanaugh Airport in Dallas. This was a little disappointing as most planes were inside two halls. However they have some pretty interesting flying stuff like a C-7 Caribou ! After this we went back to Fort Worth. We had a great meal at the local Applebees. After that we drove back to our Motel and around ten it was shut eye time.

Finally, it was monday. First we bought some stepp ladders at the Wallmart adjacent to the Airbase of NAS Fort Worth. You need those in order to photograph over the fence. Then we situated ourselves at the fence with the Wallmart in our backs. But the wind was coming from the south so flying was conducted from the north. This sucked as the planes were not taxiing in front of us. So we decided to split and try our luck on the other side. But we weren't that lucky. Only four local 'TX' F-16's and a local Marines Herc took off in the morning. After the lunch (which were two 'Bazooka' sandwiches) nine (!!) F-16's from Homestead (FL) came in. This was certainly a nice surprise. This totally saved the day. Late in the afternoon we drove back to our Motel and prepared us for dinner. Applebees was on the programme again after we couldn't find a TGI's. Back in our room we watched some mondaynight NFL and went in sleeping mode.

The next day was a Tuesday and our last day in Fort Worth. And again NAS Fort Worth was on our schedule. And again the flying wasn't great. The local Hornets from VMFA-112 'Cowboys' didn't fly at all (later found out that they were out on a carriercruise) and the locally based F-16's belonging to the 457th FS didn't fly that much either. The other resident units like the 339th MiCo flying with the C-12V showed off with two examples, the 181st AS flew with only one of their C-130H's, three out of three C-40A Clippers flew (100% score !!) and one KC-130T belonging to VMGR-234 took to the weeds. Also some F-35's were towed out of the production line of LMTAS on the ramp. I had a first-timer with a P-8A Poseidon belonging to VP-16. During lunchtime we phoned with Alliance and found out that some Hornets and Talons were parcked on the platform there. So we drove to Alliance. The Hornets turned out to be 6 Blue Angels F-18's and the Talons were 2 Sheppard T-38C's. Furthermore a Vance Jayhawk landed. At around three o'clock we decided to stay no longer at NAS Fort Worth and we drove to our next destination: Dyess AFB. Also at this airbase the flying was poor with only one B-1B and a visiting Jayhawk from Laughlin. This time we stayed at a nice Americas Best Inn and Suites on the outskirts of Abilene. In the evening we went to the Texas Road House for 16oz Fort Worth Ribeye and a 16oz Cowboy Cut Sirlion !!

The next day is a Wednesday. Dyess is on the programme. We took our position in the parc on the northwest side of the base. But also this time the flying was very limited with only one B-1B and a visiting Talon from Randolph. Too bad. I really looked forward on those Bones. Maybe next time ! In the afternoon we drove to Randolph AFB near San Antonio for our last two days in the States. In the process of doing so we were pulled over by a local Rosco P. Coltrane in the town of Fredricksburg. Just great. With a minor delay we arrived at Randolph. We parcked our car in the landing of the runway the Talons and Jayhawks are using. Randolph has two runways with the airbase in between. After a short period of time, in which we photographed quite a number of T-38's, a local Sherrif arrived. He didn't know what to do so he called airbase security. These guys also didn't know what to do so they called some suits. These guys knew exactly what to do: leave those two spotters alone ! By that time the light became poor so we decided to go to the booked Motel 8 in Universal City. What a dump ! This day was turning out to be a complete disaster wasn't it for the Facebook message we got from Laurens. He knows an Instructor Pilot (IP) flying Talons with the 435th FS at Randolph and would try to arrange a basevisit through him. And he succeeded ! With this great news in mind we went to sleep.

The next day was our last full operational day. We had the basevisit at Randolph at 14.00 hrs. so we still had the whole morning. We decided to go to Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex. Here a unit with C-5's (68th AS) and a unit with F-16's (182nd FS) are stationed. Also maintenance on the heavies is conducted here. We parcked our car alongside a railwaytrack just southeast of the runway. The local Falcons were flying pretty good actually and with four visiting Randolph Talons we had a nice morning. After this we went back to Randolph. It was too early so we first took to opportunity to photograph some Texans during their circuits. We had a good score. In the afternoon we had the basevisit with our guide 'Teflon'. More on that to come in the basevisit section of this website.

After the basevisit we thought it would be a good idea to visit a friend of Raymond in Houston. We phoned him to find out if he was at home. Tunrned out he was. Together with his wife he lives in a beautiful house in a very nice neighbourhood in Houston. He took us out for dinner in a great restaurant and after that we celebrated Helloween in Houston. It was just great ! The next morning was our last day in the States. We said goodbye to our great host and drove our rental back to George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport. We flew back to Holland with KLM B.747 ending a great trip to the Lone Star State.

I like to thank Raymond, Laurens, Teflon and Ferit and Christine.