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
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.