View Full Version : Free Flight on Military Plane for Family Emergency

Lee G.
12-04-2006, 04:46 AM

I'm working on a story in which a U.S. serviceman hitches a ride to his hometown on a military aircraft because of a family emergency. The sentence would read something like "he arrived at the air base on a _________ flight." Does anyone know a term for this sort of flight? Formal military terminology is fine, but informal terms that soldiers actually use would be helpful too.

Thank you.

12-04-2006, 05:27 AM
It's called getting a "hop". Any time there is room on a transport aircraft and there are no mission restrictions, military personnel are allowed to travel on "space available" status. You usually sit at a military terminal, put your name on a list and wait for a flight to go in the direction you want to travel. Depending on your military status, you may or may not have priority for a seat so you could be bumped off the flight any time it stops.

There are many scheduled flights called shuttle flights that travel back and forth between bases. Sometimes there are mission aircraft that also make runs around the bases, but they usually have a single priority and do not have scheduled flights.

In the case of a family emergency, he would be on emergency leave and would likely be manifested for the entire trip, which means he wouldn't have to worry about losing his seat to a higher ranking individual.

Sometimes you can even get a hop on an executive jet or a tanker. It all depends on availability and mission assignment.

12-04-2006, 07:43 PM
If you want to be nitpicky the sentence would be "He arrived at the base on a hop," if it's being spoken by a military person. They don't refer to is as a "hop flight" it's just a "hop," and military people just say "base" not "air base".

Lee G.
12-04-2006, 07:50 PM
^ I say air base because the story is actually set in my own hometown, where we have an Air Force base that we commonly refer to as "the air base." However, the soldier in my story is in the Army. Is it implausible that he could catch a flight from an Army base to an Air Force base?

Kate Thornton
12-04-2006, 07:54 PM
I'm retired Army and usually fly from Air base to Air base because the Space-A hops are easier to get. My favorite used to be Ventura CA to Honolulu for the weekend.

Haven't had a spare weekend in years, though.

Here's a link to Space-A flight information.

Cav Guy
12-04-2006, 08:59 PM
Army guys also tend to refer to a base as a "post," because that's Army lingo. Likewise, Air Force guys call almost everything a "base" for the same reason. You can use Space-A and hop interchangably, really. But as was pointed out, family emergency stuff is handled much differently. Your guy would either be on a chartered flight or possibly commercial if that was the quickest way.

12-05-2006, 06:48 PM
LOL You caught me. I'm prior Air Force. Everything is a "base".