Holloman F-22 Training Heats Up

Aircraft maintainers of the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB, N.M., last month began “hot pit” training exercises with the F-22 stealth fighter, two squadrons of which will call the base home within the next few years. Hot pit means refueling an F-22 while its engines are still running, thereby decreasing the refueling time by more than half when compared to operations when the aircraft’s engines are shut down and the pilot exits the airplane. Hot refuelings are normally used in combat conditions so the aircraft can be serviced and take off again relatively quickly. They do entail a greater risk of fire hazard. Wing maintainers are currently conducting the hot refuel training twice weekly, with the F-22s landing, getting refueled, taking off again, landing again, receiving fuel a second time, and then finally parking. “We’re getting the personnel spun up now so when the [first] squadron of aircraft comes on scene, we’re ready to go full tilt,” said TSgt. James Henderson, 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in charge of mobile distribution. The first two of Holloman’s 40 planned F-22s arrived at the base in June, with the first squadron expected to be declared ready for operations before the end of 2009. (Holloman report by A1C Jamal Sutter)