Military News

Monday, August 10, 2015

First-rate hot-pit refueling helps Lakenheath stay Forward, Ready, Now

by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/7/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - --

Hot-pit refueling systems give aircrafts the ability to land and refuel with engines still running, similar to a stock car making a pit stop in NASCAR. This feature allows for jets to reduce the time it usually takes to refuel POL by an estimated 66 percent.

Airmen from the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Petroleum Oils and Lubricants flight, assisted Airmen from the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in performing hot-pit refueling, Aug. 5.

According to Airman 1st Class Corey Baxley, 48th LRS fixed facilities operator, hot-pit refueling allows for quicker turnaround for jets returning to flight.

"When refueling is done this way, we issue directly to the aircrafts while they're still running, one engine at a time," Baxley said. "It improves the mission by being able to send jets back into the air faster."

During a normal week, POL Airmen assist in refueling about eight jets per day. Despite minimal manning, Airmen from the POL flight and crew chiefs are refueling more than double that in a day, refueling two squadrons per day, twice a day. Over the past week, POL Airmen have assisted in refueling 81 aircraft, totaling 272,204 gallons of JP8. The highest hot-pit output ever, according to Master Sgt. Nathaniel Nelson, 48th LRS fuels operations section chief.

"With the Airmen we have, despite low manning, if we're asked to support, we will," said Staff Sgt. Phillip Jones, 48th LRS fuels distribution supervisor. "When it comes to getting the mission done and providing fuels support, POL will always be there. Essentially without POL, you're SOL."

RAF Lakenheath is home to four flying squadrons with non-stop operations, having deployed more than 100 aircraft in the past year. These hot-pit refueling systems are an essential step in helping the 48th Fighter Wing remain Forward, Ready, Now.

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