So what exactly is going on here? Well, last week (ish) Geoff and I flew space A up to Germany. We took a C-130 that had some open seats. Geoff was hoping to fly as crew and get the flight hours (he is a flight surgeon and has mandatory crew flight hours each month). But due to a paperwork issue that didn't work out. But he was able to get us up in the cockpit where we could hang out with the pilots and get a view that most people never see.
C-130s are loud. You have to wear earplugs the whole time except when you are wearing headphones. The interior can be hot while on the ground and cold at altitude. And the bathroom - well, there is one. Enough said.
On the other hand, you can get up and walk around without having to crawl over anyone. You can lay down on the seats or on the floor if you bring your own sleeping pad. You don't have to worry about your luggage getting lost as it is strapped down to the floor right in front of you. And boarding and de-boarding takes about 2 minutes. All in all, its a pretty great ride.
This is a flag being flown on the dash of a C-130. (Kind of a cool shot, dontcha think?) Did you know that flags are flown in planes as well as on flagpoles? This flag was for one of the pilot's families. My kids each have a flag that was flown in a F-16 over Iraq and the paperwork to prove it.