Plane Grounding en route to BCT?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Kiowa, May 26, 2014.

  1. Kiowa

    Kiowa Member

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    This is a bit of a ways off, but what happens if one (or more) of your flights to Colorodo Springs for BCT is grounded?


    Right now, there's an uncontained 156,000+ acre wildfire in my area, with thick smoke rising into the atmosphere, raining ash, and evacuations in progress and on standby. A couple years ago, we also had a lot of plane groundings due to volcanic ash, so I was wondering "just in case" this fire remains uncontrolled and causes hazardous flying conditions.
     
  2. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    Travel earlier

    It may be worth booking your travel plans so that you arrive in Colorado Springs a day or two earlier than most. If anyone balks at the additional cost of a hotel for a couple extra nights, I have two words: Hotwire and freetuition. Good luck and safe travels.
     
  3. Renegado

    Renegado Member

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    Start planning now to make sure your Basic is there on time. We went a few days early to avoid any unexpected delays. It looks like you're up in Alaska so it might be a challenge. I would start preparing now.
     
  4. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    We echo wholeheartedly the advice to plan on coming early to avoid the anxiety of flight and other issues. We have learned to plan on "early is on time" for any return/arrival to USAFA. BCT waits for no one! Our cadet got to I - day a couple of days early and it was worth it to ease anxiety and get acclimated.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  5. Alaskan Mom

    Alaskan Mom Member

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    We already have DD arriving early, but wondered what happens if natural disasters (circumstances beyond our control) prohibit planes from flying?

    This wildfire is over 156,000 acres and growing (it is larger than the city of Seattle). We can't see the sun because of the smoke. We have been tasting and breathing the smoke for over a week now, both outside and inside our homes. It is only 30% contained. Hotshots from the Lower '48 and Canada are here to help, but the fire is creeping closer to our homes. The flames are reported 200-500 FEET high. Yikes. It's been "raining" ash for days.

    I know travel date is a month away, but how long does it take to contain an out of control fire? Are airplanes effected by smoke ash as it is with volcanic ash?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  6. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Well, I suppose that should the time come and you are absolutely unable to arrive in CO Springs then you will need to contact someone. BUT...my cadet inprocessed during the Waldo Canyon fire, a terrible fire that affected the Academy and the personnel directly responsible for Inprocessing. We were evacuated from our hotel the day before Inprocessing and had to rely on the goodness of strangers (who are now my daughter's sponsor family!) to make it happen for her. I am only a mom and have no inside track on any of this, but having witnessed what people did to make sure Inprocessing happened when an awful fire was devastating its own, I'd do my best to figure out how to get there even if flights are grounded. Drive to another airport? Train then fly? I would think that USAFA would expect you to devise a Plan B, or C.
    I'm sorry; I don't mean to be callous to your situation. I'm watching news footage now of the fire and it is indeed horrible, and I hope you and yours remain safe and sound.
     
  7. Alaskan Mom

    Alaskan Mom Member

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    You bet, if planes are flying I will do EVERYTHING in my power to get her on one!

    However, Anchorage has been in the line of smoke due to the wind direction and ash has been raining on them too. There are no other airports and no trains. I'm praying it all settles down before travel happens. Just venting some of my anxiety.

    That you for your kind, understanding words.
     
  8. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Alaskamom -- You didn't say where you live, but a quick search indicates that Anchorage is not the only airport in Alaska. While I realize Alaska is a huge state (I've actually done alot of camping around the state!) you may need to look into flights that leave from other airports and ways to get there. You may need to drive to a small airport and do a puddle jumper to say Seattle or Vancouver or you may need to drive a few hours to get somewhere that could be your basic's jumping off point. I suggest you start thinking out of the box, think about what kind of a drive you could undertake. I also notice that there are trains from Anchorage to places like Fairbanks that could be out of the way of the fire. I would think that the Academy would expect you to undertake these kinds of measures (as crazy as they may sound to you right now!) to get your basic to CO Springs for I-Day. I don't think that closure of the airport from which you intended to depart is going to elicit a ton of sympathy from USAFA.
    Hopefully this could all just be a big mental exercise and all will be fine in a month. But it might make you feel better to think about these options.
    Best of luck and take care of yourself and your family...stay safe.
     
  9. dohdean

    dohdean Member

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    Call Admissions (not this Tuesday or Wednesday because of graduation events). They should be able to put you in touch with someone with whom you can discuss this problem. Make a Plan B or C if feasible -- figure out whether you can drive your Basic somewhere (very long way, I know) from where they can catch a flight, a train, etc. If in fact there is no way to get from your home state because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, highways are closed, you are evacuated from your home, etc. -- someone at the Academy will give you advice, help, etc. You might also try calling your Basic's ALO -- maybe there are others within the state of Alaska also needing help with transportation because of this disaster.
     
  10. Alaskan Mom

    Alaskan Mom Member

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    We live in Soldotna, Alaska. DD begins her trip per itinerary in Kenai-Anchorage-Seattle-Colorado Springs. There are other airports, but the puddle jumpers all jump to Anchorage before going to other areas (ie. Seattle, Vancouver, etc).
    Fairbanks is on the road system, but it also has a fire going on that is threatening the Alaskan Pipeline.

    I like the idea of thinking outside the box. There is the Alaska Marine Hwy and of course driving. Both will take about 6 days just to get to Seattle. I want to be preparing for other options, but hope it is just a mental exercise.

    I am thinking I might be worrying unnecessarily as the Hot Shots and Canadian "Ducks" are flying planes with fire retardant and H2O. Their planes seem to be doing fine through the smoke.

    dodean, I like your suggestions too. I will pursue them if the fire persists. Great ideas. i thank you both!
     
  11. Mountain_Mom

    Mountain_Mom Member

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    I went to I-day with my DS last year and we were plenty stressed out as is. He was on time, but I know some of the kids had flight delays that were out of their control (and on USAFA-booked flights), and they just showed up a little late. I haven't remembered to ask my son if they got any special attention, but I don't think it was the end of the world.
     

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