SJ Airmen Conduct Hot-Pit Refueling Technique

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Airmen from the 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) shop and 336th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) work together to conduct hot-pit refueling of F-15E Strike Eagles at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Hot-pit refueling eliminates extra maintenance, decreases refueling time and extends the amount of training aircrew members receive during each flight.

During a hot-pit refuel, one of the two engines are completely shut off, said Tech Sgt. Jacob Barnes, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron mobile distribution Noncommissioned Officer in Charge.

“Refueling times reduce by 66% when aircraft keep their engines on,” said Barnes. 

In order to save time and get aircraft back in the air faster, R-11 Hydrant Servicing Vehicles (HSV), LRS and AMU Airmen are strategically position so the jets can position and be refuel similar to a gas station.

Once the servicing supervisor marshals the jet onto the pad, a safety check is performed and the jet is clear to be refueled.

Airman 1st Class Zachary Nottingham, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron weapons load crew member explained, “the refueling hose is carried out to the jet and then the fuel nozzle is coupled to the jet’s receptacle.” 

When the hose is coupled to the jet a fuels distribution operator adjusts the fuel throttle on the R-11 HSV and refueling begins.

“It takes approximately 10 minutes to hot refuel an F-15,” said Barnes. “Taxiing in to the hot refueling area and being marshalled into the pit can take additional time however, the aircraft can immediately return to flight after being refueled.”

In addition to eliminating extra maintenance and increasing pilot training time hot-pit refueling also improves mission combat capabilities.

“It reduces ground time for close air support,” said Barnes. “It is very important during times of war and close air support needs.”

The mission of POL is invaluable and the Airmen charged with delivering fuel ensure the 4th Fighter Wing mission of dominating Strike Eagle airpower, anytime, anywhere.

“I enjoy working hot-pit refueling alongside my Airmen, every day is ever-changing in POL,” said Barnes. “We are a tight-knit family and there is no other shop like it.”