Wednesday, July 21, 2004

A visit to Killen and Tyler, TX/ July 17, 2004

July 21, 2004
Trip Date: July 17, 2004
Hello Everyone,
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Thanks for your comments on the Singapore trip, I really appreciate it.  At the suggestion of a co-worker, I’ve created a blog at  Please check it out and add comments if you wish.
This week, I am kind of in between some major trips and need to catch myself.  All the international flights were full, except for Sao Paolo (and that trip would be costly to do what I had planned) and most domestic destinations, so I decided to just stay local.
I thought I’d just do some local Texas airports that are still on the “To Do” list.  I remember that on August 2, 2004, Killeen, Texas would change its airport code from ILE to GRK.  There is actually a physical change of location that goes with this as well.  Since for the next two weeks, I’d be out of pocket, this was the only weekend to log Killeen, Texas (ILE).  Here is what happened.
I had mentioned this to one of my co-workers and he said if I was going, I should give him a call.  I did not finally decide until about 1:30 a.m. Friday night, so I though I’d just call him when I got up in the morning.  At about 8 a.m. on my drive to the airport (he lives close to the airport); I called him and told him of my plans and to meet me if he can.  Both the voicemail on his mobile and his home phone came on.  I guess he was still asleep.
I got to the airport taking I-45 all the way to Beltway 8 as there was no traffic that early in the morning.  Once at the Service Park parking lot, I noticed that my driver today would be the same guy that made me wait the last time at Terminal D; what luck I thought L.  Well the van came and I told him my parking space number as well as my Terminal.  I said “Terminal B-Baker” quite clearly.  Well, we left the lot and he headed towards Terminal C-Charlie, I meant to say something, but knew he’d argue so I kept quiet.  He then headed for Terminal D, stopped and indicated that I should alight.  Well, I said, I’m going to Terminal B-Bravo Sir, not D-Delta.  He shrugged and then pulled away and headed for Terminal B-Bravo; no explanation, no apology.
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)
I walked into the terminal to the long lines of passengers checking in.  As I had already checked in online, I headed to the security checkpoint, showed my documents and cleared without incident.  I did notice a passenger in leg and handcuffs being escorted by two security personnel; I could not help but wonder what were the circumstances surrounding that.
I then headed to the Presidents Club for a quick breakfast and a trip online.  While there, my phone rang and it was my co-worker.  Indeed, he was up late and was asleep when I called.  He could not meet for the Killeen flight, but would for the one to Tyler.  I told him I’d call him once I departed Killeen.
The time got away from me and I noticed that it was 9:15 a.m.  I got my stuff together and headed for the gate.  Apologizing, I handed my ID to the agent.  One other agent there told me that he had not seen me, so he unseated me, but cheerfully re-checked me in and gave me a seat assignment.
As I waited for the bus to take me to the stand, another passenger arrived.  There was also talk about an unaccompanied minor who was on his way to the gate as well.  The bus arrived and we both boarded.  As we headed for the airplane, the bus stopped, picking up a pilot and deposited him at our airplane.
CO9517/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N15732)
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH) to Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE)

We both alighted behind the pilot and mounted the steps to the plane.  The configuration is 1-2 with a total of 30 seats.  There is one flight attendant as the number of seats exceeds 19 passengers and is less than 50.  There is even a toilet on this little plane.  You can see this seat map here:
I went to my seat at 9A and noticed a passenger sitting in it.  I told her that I was assigned that seat and she moved to her assigned seat at 9B next to her mom in 9C.  Although 9A said Exit Row on my boarding pass, it was not, the Exit Row seats are really 9B and 9C as well as row 6.
As I settled in, the last passenger boarded.  He was the unaccompanied minor that the gate agents were talking about.  The flight attendant came by asking the passengers in rows 6B and C (no one in 6A) if they were all willing and able to help, they said yes and he moved on to row 9, where after some hesitation, he got the same answer.
The captain then came on the PA with his announcement and greeting.  He sounded really enthusiastic; I felt like I was going to Honolulu, Hawaii or some other exotic destination.  It was currently 75 degrees (exclamation from the passengers) and sunny, he said, cautioning that it would not be 75 when we got there.  Our flying time today would be 44 minutes from take off to touch down he said in closing.
At 9:37 a.m., we rolled forward and headed for the runway.  After handing out a half pint bottle of Ozarka water, the flight attendant did his demo, made his security checks and settled in his seat.  The cool thing about being in a smaller plane is that you get expedited to the front of the line.  So in a few minutes, we were lined up for runway 15R and took to the skies ahead of the Boeing 757s, Embraer 145s and Boeing 737s that were waiting.
After take off, we were served a packet of peanuts.  A little after that, I heard the flight attendant call button go off.  One of the passengers in the back wanted a beer, which she received for a charge of $5.00.
As we started our descent into Killeen, the Captain came on and told us that it was now 86 degrees!  You have to love Texas in the summertime.
As we were landing, I noticed the airfield off to the left.  We made a left-hand turn and then went in for a landing on runway 19, made a left onto the taxiway and taxied up to the terminal bearing a sign “Welcome Killeen.”
Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE)
I was the last to deplane and headed for the terminal building with the others.  We all waited a bit until someone came and opened the entry door.  Once in the baggage claim and car rental area, I headed for the ticket lobby following the well placed sign (I had less than twenty minutes before departure).  This was a busy little arrival area; the usual hugs and kisses, passengers picking up their bags, renting cars, etc. were going on.  The minor was greeted by a lady who looked like his mom and some of his siblings possibly.
As expected, there was no one at the counter; usually in these small airports, there is a very small team that does everything.  I counted about three and one of them looked like the station manager.  I quickly went outside to get a few pictures of the terminal ( and and then headed back in.  This was a very quick turn; we landed at 10:31 a.m. and were scheduled to leave at 10:50 a.m.
I cleared security and headed over to the podium to see the gate agent.  She told me that it did not look good and there is a strong possibility that I would not make; but I knew that before taking this journey.  The back up plan was to wait for a later American Eagle flight to Dallas/ Forth Worth and then take a connecting American Airlines (AA) flight back to Houston.
Soon she made the boarding calls and everyone was boarded including two more unaccompanied minors (it must be summer).  Two more passengers showed up and waited for her return.  Once she boarded them, she radioed to see if there was any room for one standby without bags (me).  Luckily, there was; she wrote 5A on my standby boarding card as she has no boarding card printer at the gate and told me to go and I did, thanking her as I did so.
CO9526/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N15732)
Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE) to Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

I got back on board and took seat 5A.  I did notice that 6B and C were open so I moved over there.  This is the other Exit Row.  There are actually no chair tables in this row at all.
I glanced back and there was this kid sitting at the window that looked so excited; his mom was sitting across from him.  He then commented that he had not flown in four years (holding up four fingers); he looked like he was about nine or so years old.  I remember when I was that excited, I still get that way J.  I looked out the window and I could see family members waving to their loved ones through the fence at the parking lot.
The Captain came on with his greeting and announced that it would be 90 degrees when we got back to Houston and that our cruisin’ altitude would be 17,000’ today with :35 minute flying time enroute.
The doors soon closed, the engines started and we were off to the taxiway.  The flight attendant gave his demo and safety checks and we were all set to go.  It was a quick taxi to the threshold of runway 19, where we made a right turn onto the runway, taxied the short distance to the end, made a tight right turn, straightened up, held the brakes, revved up the engines and took off like a pellet out of a slingshot.  About midway down the runway, the wheels lifted, we were off.
I was trying to see if I could spot the new airport in the distance and I think I did; the next trip in these parts will be to log it.  Once we reached our cruisin’ altitude, we were served a half pint bottle of water followed by a pack of peanuts again.  Our little flyer off to my left was delighted and so was I.
I made a trip back to the restroom and it was quite interesting.  Tip: ensure that if you are a little taller than average use the facilities on the ground J before you board these small planes.  It was even more interesting as we started our descent into Houston while I was in there.  This airplane has no running water, so wet wipes are provided.
Back at my seat, I continued writing until we buzzed past 10,000’.  We landed on the newly opened 8L and taxied to the hard stand near Terminal B. 
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)
On the taxi, I could see an Air Canada Jazz CRJ-200 ( parked at the gate over by Terminal A.  Prior to that, on landing, I saw an Antonov cargo plane ( in the cargo area.  As we taxied to our hard stand, I called my co-worker to let him know I had landed (did not have a chance to do so in ILE at all).  He was all set; he had checked in for the flight to Tyler and would meet me in the Presidents Club in a few minutes.
Houston Texas (IAH) to Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)
We pulled up to our berth, deplaned and headed for the waiting bus that took us over to Terminal B.  Once there, I checked for the departure gate for Tyler and as it turns out, it was the same as the earlier gate for Killeen, 84B.  I headed towards the Presidents Club, where I relaxed with a glass of Chardonnay accompanied by some cheese and crackers.  I made sure to take a seat where I could see the planes as they headed for the departure runway.  As I waited, a Boeing 777, 757-300 and a 767-400 passed by as well as a few ERJs, busy morning at IAH.
Soon, my phone rang, it was my co-worker, he was just clearing security.  He came in as my guest and we chatted until it was within 30 minutes of departure.  We then went down to the gate and received our boarding passes. We had 1B and C, but when we boarded the flight attendant told us to take any open seats.  Since 9B and C were open, we took those.
CO9548/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N15732)
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH) to Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)

As we got ready for our departure, World Airways MD-11 landed.  I think it arrived from somewhere in East Africa.  Soon, we departed, ontime and headed for the runway.  This time around, when we got to the runway, we had to wait a bit before we got our clearance to go.  Once we got the clearance, the take off was swift with a hard right turn flying parallel to the departing runway for it full length.  This gave us a chance to see the airport in its full glory.  It was great to see the Boeing 737-300 that was following us on the take off roll, also making a right turn.
Once we were at cruise, we were served water or another beverage of choice and peanuts.  I chatted with my co-worker for the entire journey, it was good to catch up.  Soon, it was time to land and we started our descent. 
Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)
When we landed, I noticed there was an American Eagle Saab SF3 at the gate.  It was preparing to depart (
We deplaned and entered the terminal with the other passengers.  We had about an hour on the ground, so we decided to explore a bit.  Not much to see really; this is a brand new terminal (two years old), with typical airport facilities.  Tyler is apparently the rose capital of Texas and possibly the U.S. so they airport had a big rose on it (  I was also able to take a photo of the departing American Eagle flight to Dallas/ Fort Worth (
We went inside as the heat was sweltering!  We made a quick stop by the food court, well the lone restaurant, to see what they had to offer.  We stopped short as the prices were so high for a burger.  The agent later told us that it is not for a ¼ pounder as normal, but Tyler is famous for the one pound burger; of course, the name “Pounds Field.”  There is no way I can eat a full pound of beef on a bun, so I decided against it.  So did my co-worker.
We then cleared security and waited for a seat.  This was another touch and go situation as well; it was fine earlier, by a family of five had shown up since we departed Houston and now we were booked at 28.  The agent said it was not looking to good as they were weight restricted.  We waited for word and it came in the form of good news at the last minute.  We were given the only two seats left 6A and 9A and told to board.
CO9549/17JUL04 operated by SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection

Embraer Brasilia 120 (N58733)
Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (ILE) to Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)

Elated and relieved, we boarded, the doors closed and we were off with seven minutes to spare.  By now, the wind direction had changed so we headed for runway 4 and took to the skies.
As we flew out, one could see the old terminal close to the end of the runway.  The control tower still remained there.  We did find out that the new terminal is only two years old.
We were served refreshments once more as we leveled out.  This flight was without incident and we landed safely at George Bush on runway 8R.
Houston/ George Bush Intercontinental, Houston Texas (IAH)
We had a long taxi back and had to wait for a Boeing 737-300 to land on runway 8L.  By now, there was another Antonov on the ground.
We headed to the ramp where we all deplaned, took the bus to the terminal and headed for the Exit.  Soon, I was in my, dropped my co-worker home and then headed south towards the city.  Not bad for a few hours of fun, I thought.
None this week, but please feel free to send me a question if you have one.
Killeen, Texas
Tyler, Texas
SkyWest Airlines dba Continental Connection (CO*)
Killeen Municipal, Killeen Texas (ILE)
Tyler Pounds Regional, Tyler Texas (TYR)
Flight #    Date    Routing    Aircraft Type  Distance (miles) Aircraft Registration
CO9517 17JUL  IAH – ILE    EMB-120          159                        N15732
CO9526 17JUL  ILE – IAH    EMB-120          159                        N15732
CO9548 17JUL  IAH – TYR   EMB-120          163                        N58733
CO9549 17JUL  TYR – IAH   EMB-120          163                        N58733
Total Air Miles: 644
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