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News | Dec. 13, 2017

Hot-pit refueling enables high-ops training

By Senior Airman Daniel Snider 23d Wing Public Affairs

The 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Petroleum, Oil, Lubricant section kept aircraft flying around the clock by conducting the more efficient hot-pit styled refuels, Dec. 4 -7, during the 23d Wing’s Phase 1, Phase 2 exercise, here.

To keep operations running smoothly and aircraft flying during the week-long exercise, the fuels distribution section prepositioned M-11 refueling trucks in advance to aircraft landing and refueled, without shutting down the aircraft.

“Hot pits are almost like a gas station attendant,” said Master Sgt. James Holloway, 23d LRS fuel’s superintendent. “With a max surge like this, if we cold serviced, it would take a lot longer.

 “They’re flying more and with quicker turn times, so hot pits allow us to keep them fueled, as the [pilots] come to us. We just stick the hose in and refuel them.”

By eliminating the need for aircraft to shut off, the fuel’s team was able to reduce refuel times by 66 percent.

“The hot-pits are extremely beneficial,” said Capt. Taylor Raasch, 75th Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot. “They increase our ability to generate sorties and minimize the time required to get aircraft airborne again. We’re getting more value in the time allotted in our flying window and ultimately more training.”

If pilots were required to shut down their aircraft each landing, further ground inspections would be required. In addition to this, the fuels distribution team would be required to find each aircraft in need of fuel, set up the refueling operation and drag a hose to the aircraft. Then drive away to repeat the process at another aircraft, requiring much more time.

“Normally, we’re taking a truck to each individual aircraft and its not sequential or every aircraft on the flight line,” said Holloway. “We have to drive from one row to another to figure out which ones have flown.

 “It’s much easier to say, ‘here’s the hose, come to us and you’re ready to take-off again.’”

To keep up with Team Moody’s high-tempo training missions, the fuels team has six R-11 refueling trucks which can each hold approximately 6,000 gallons of fuel.

“So if we’re hot pitting more than four or five per location, we can switch the trucks out and do it seamlessly without interfering with the aircraft’s schedule,” said Holloway.

Not only is it beneficial for both the pilots and the fuels team, but Holloway said he enjoys seeing his Airmen’s response to being on the flight line with the wind and noise of the running aircraft.

“The hot-pits are definitely gratifying,” Holloway added. “I think it’s pretty exhilarating out there with the aircraft running. It’s a good experience and builds pride.

“It’s satisfying to know we’re helping this pilot get trained and effectively put bombs on targets and kill the bad guys. So that’s what it’s all about, it’s just cool.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Moody Air Force Base website.