I can walk through two doors and put my hands on a UH-1.
Sitting next to that Huey are two AH-1 Cobras. Step through a clear plastic barrier designed to keep heat in one part of this big hangar, and feast your eyes on two more Hueys, two more Cobras, an OH-58, and an O-1 BirdDog.
Think I'm in heaven here? :)
I spent the day yesterday attaching covers to the many inspection panels on a Huey just coming out of a major inspection. Having completed that job several of us installed all the canvas seats in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. All of this was harder than I expected, and made me realize I should have thanked my maintenance personnel for the good work they did MUCH more often than I did.
Ground schooling finished and written tests all complete, tomorrow I take what they here call the "Nickel Ride" to show the folks that keep these neat old birds flying I'm not a total idiot at the controls. It's my first step to getting completely qualified to fly the machines from one point to another. Eventually I'll be at the controls when we buckle folks willing to pay for the experience of actually flying in this Viet Nam icon into the rear to take them for a spin.
There are 11 guys in this class.
Other than the instructor I'm the only guy in the class that flew this machine in combat.
We're ALL having a ball, working hard... playing hard.
I'll give ya an after-action report soon as I come down off this "high".