by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs
6/9/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- A record breaking number of F-22 raptor sorties were successfully launched from the runway at JBPHH, June 6.
Pilots of the F-22 from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 199th Fighter
Squadron and the 19th Fighter Squadron teamed up with maintenance Airmen
from the 154th Wing and 15th Maintenance Group to launch and recover 62
Raptors in a day.
A sortie surge, or an increase in flying operations, simulates wartime
operations, which is higher than the standard training tempo. The
increase in sorties tested the flying capability of the total force
integration squadron known as the Hawaii Raptors.
Operators, maintainers, and supporting personnel all played their part to set the new record.
"Morale seemed to be at an all-time high, with pilots literally grinning
from ear to ear," said Lt. Col Justin Spears, 19th FS Commander.
"Spirits seemed equally high on the maintenance side. When I went out to
the ramp I was continually asked by every maintainer I saw, 'What's the
sortie count?' and 'How many are we going to get?' Those men and women
did an absolutely phenomenal job quick turning jets, fixing broken
aircraft, replacing tires when plugs blew, and running the hot pits."
According to Spears, in a normal week around 50 sorties are scheduled.
By flying 62 sorties, the Hawaiian Raptors flew more than they would
ever fly or schedule in the normal five day flying week.
The previous record was 46 sorties in one day with 14 aircraft, this
recorded was broken using only 12 of the 18 aircraft in the smallest
F-22 squadron in the Air Force.
"This proves that we are a much more confident unit, said Staff Sgt.
AlanMichael Warner, 154th Maintenance Squadron. "We have gained a lot of
experience and knowledge on this aircraft. We know how to attack issues
and succeed with the mission."
In order to fly as many sorties as possible pilots and maintainers
conducted hot pit refueling, a procedure performed to rapidly refuel the
aircraft and allow it to complete a second sortie in a short amount of
During a hot pit refuel the pilot will stay in the cockpit with the jet
running while the maintenance crews perform safety checks and refuel the
aircraft allowing it to return to flight in minimum time.
"Our maintainers got 12 aircraft out on the line and got them flying and
not only started with 12 but then launched another 12 and another 12
and kept it going until we got 62 sorties," Spears said. "This would not
have happened if not for the Airmen working the jets."