FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Team Fairchild successfully completed the Air Force’s first-ever stateside Hot Pit refueling on the KC-135 Stratotanker on March. 25, 2021.
Hot pit refueling occurs when an aircraft is fueled immediately after landing, while the aircraft keeps one engine running.
This form of refueling reduces response time and keeps aircraft ready to complete any mission, anywhere.
“By performing a hot pit refuel, maintenance can turn multiple aircraft in the amount of time it would take to service a single aircraft. That usually includes shutting engines down, doing the engine checks, fueling, and getting up off of the ground again,” said Tech. Sgt. Gregory Eilenstein, 92nd Logistic Readiness Squadron NCO in-charge of fuels distribution. “After-flight checks can take hours, and with hot pit refueling, we can cut it down to potentially an hour.”
In addition to shortening the time it takes to turn each aircraft, it also strengthens capabilities and locations that the aircraft, in this case a KC-135 Stratotanker, can reach due to not having to completely shut off engines or restart them.
“This also allows us to land in an area where KC-135s aren’t prevalent. We can then refuel without worrying about potential errors that take a long time to service, due to a lack of parts and maintenance experience,” said Maj. Myles McDowell, 92nd Operations Support Squadron deputy chief of wing tactics.
Being the first base to bring this capability to the continental U.S. showcases the innovation and preparedness Team Fairchild and the Air Mobility Command possesses and implements.
“Fairchild is the super tanker wing, so we want to lead the way with this new capability,” McDowell said. “We need to accelerate change or lose. We didn’t want to wait for this to come to us. We wanted to beat everyone and posture Fairchild so when AMC says go, we’re ready to execute.”
Bringing hot pit refueling to Fairchild and CONUS expands mission capabilities and ensures that KC-135s are ready to compete, deter, and win.