Hot pit refueling a critical skill ... and a lifesaver

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Miyah Gray
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 190th Air Refueling Wing teamed up with Airmen from the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and 54th Air Refueling Squadron to conduct the first ever hot pit refueling training at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Feb. 6, 2024.

Hot pit refueling is the transfer of fuel into an aircraft having one or more engines running. This capability provides minimum aircraft turnaround times and reduces fueling personnel and equipment support requirements.

In 2023, 97th Maintenance Group personnel coordinated approval for Hot Pit Refueling Permanent Site Certification of the Altus AFB North Ramp, providing off-site contingency training for other units to utilize.

“97th MXG personnel capitalized on the opportunity to attain certification for the building up of our own hot refueling program,” said Jimmel Winkfield, 97th AMXS deputy director. “Total force integration provided both units with training, certification, and the experience needed to accomplish the mission at home and abroad.”

Staff Sgt. David Gutierrez, 97th LRS fuels equipment maintenance supervisor, reinforced the importance of developing this skill, emphasizing the role of the hot pit refueling initiative in shaping the capabilities of our Airmen for both current and future operational demands.

“From a [petroleum, oils, and lubricants] perspective, newly assigned POL Airmen from technical training do not have the opportunity to be exposed to this high-demand, low-density skill,” he said. “Development is the future and the hot pit refueling initiative will build the foundational skills that operational installations can further use to mold our Airmen. When responding to enemy actions, time is critical and every second counts. The ability to generate a sortie faster can not only save lives, but turn the tide in a fight. The opportunity to train on these special operations while at home station is infinitely beneficial to a POL troop heading down range and provides combatant commanders a better trained operator.”