USAF airmen use old equipment for F-35 hot-pit refuelling

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 16:27

Can someone explain why they were using multiple fuel trucks if the area was already plumbed for fuel?

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MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFNS) --
‘Things aren’t made the way they used to be’ is a sentiment often tossed around when a new car or appliance breaks down. Even with all the new inventions and integrated technology there’s something to be said about the simplicity of an original design. Mountain Home Air Force Base members are learning this lesson firsthand.

Airmen from the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron, also known as Gunfighters, are the first in the Air Force to perform hot-pit refueling on F-35 Lightning II’s with a Type 1 hydrant system from the 1950s and hose cart from the 1970s.

A hot-pit is when a plane lands, refuels then takes off again without turning off the engine, explains Senior Airman Christian Cook, 366th LRS fuels operator. The typical refueling procedure consists of landing, turning off the engine and a laundry list of to-do’s.

Traditional refueling takes upwards of 2 hours while the hot-pit gold standard takes 13 minutes, which translates to huge monetary saving.

During hot-pits, Gunfighters initially used eight R-11 refueling trucks that hold 6,000 gallons of fuel each. One R-11 is only capable of refueling two jets and requires a new truck to come out with additional fuel to meet the demands of the mission, said Tech. Sgt. Zachary J. Kiniry, 366th LRS fuels service center noncommissioned officer in charge.

“This method is not time-efficient, ties up 50 percent of the base’s R-11’s and associated personnel and creates traffic on an active flightline that could pose a safety hazard,” Kiniry said.

His team realized that more moving parts was not the answer, Kiniry said. With a new, simplified approach they found a resourceful solution in using older-generation equipment to better complete the mission.

Now, Gunfighters use a Type 1 hydrant system from the 1950s and hose carts from the 1970s directly connected to 500,000 gallon tanks, allowing Gunfighters to virtually endlessly refuel F-35s.

“Our old equipment is persisting and performing up to the hot-pits gold standard of 13 minute turnarounds,” Kiniry said.

With this new process, Gunfighters have the capability to run hot-pits 24/7, saving 15 minutes between every other F-35 that was previously needed to set up a new R11.

“We have eliminated safety concerns from the heavy traffic on the flightline and reallocated eight R11’s with their associated personnel to perform the rest of the mission outside of hot-pits,” Cooks explained.

Gunfighters are continuing their legacy of excellence and are an example how flexibility is the key to air power.

“Mountain Home Air Force Base is proving that we can still fuel F-35 aircraft right off the production line with some of the oldest equipment at unheard of turnaround times,” Kiniry said.

“We have learned through continual improvement, experimentation and innovation how to enhance readiness and keep Airmen safe, regardless of what tools we are given.”


https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... -huge-win/
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quicksilver

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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 16:56

My bet is that it’s part of a routine that builds a culture of resourcefulness and resilience amongst the maintainers and support personnel for those instances (e.g. deployed) when everything isn’t perfect or set-piece (a la home plate).
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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 17:43

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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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outlaw162

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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 21:03

The fitting and hose in use at the aircraft looks smaller than the typical fitting coming from the ground or from a true fuel truck. Maybe some filters inline on the little gizmo? Also IIRC when we went thru the hot-pit 'Octagon' at Miramar in the 80s, we had to have the canopies open for safety/egress purposes (on 100% oxy), but that might have been aircraft or unit specific....

....for transients it had to be open to be able to hand down the DOD 'credit card' to the refueler dude. (For a joke one time, my WSO gave him his Mastercard :shock: )

edit: I seem to recall a grounding wire directly from the aircraft also.
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Unread post05 Jul 2019, 21:34

Everything old is new again however the ProgHelfSys does HELP - if it works as advertised - and of course CODE ONE!
This Air Force Base is Using 1950s Tech to Give F-35 Pilots More Flight Time
05 Jul 2019 Oriana Pawlyk

"The Air Force is turning to half-century-old refueling equipment to get its pilots off the flight lines and back up into the air as quickly as possible.

The U.S. Air Force has used hot refueling in recent years -- a technique that fuels up a plane while its engines are on -- in an effort to save time. Now the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron, based at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, is the first Air Force unit to take hot-pit refueling old school. The squadron, known as the 'Gunfighters,' began using a Type 1 hydrant system from the 1950s and hose cart from the 1970s to refuel F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that stop at the base, according to a service release.

The systems connect directly to 500,000-gallon tanks, refueling a plane in roughly 15 minutes without requiring its engines to be shut off, the release states....

...Meanwhile, the Type 1 system, although old, is the logical choice, he said [Tech. Sgt. Zachary Kiniry, 366th LRS fuels service center noncommissioned officer]. "Our old equipment is persisting and performing up to the hot-pits gold standard of 13-minute turnarounds," Kiniry said in the release. "We have learned through continual improvement, experimentation and innovation how to enhance readiness and keep airmen safe, regardless of what tools we are given."

Other 'Hot Swap' Methods
Rethinking hot-pit refueling isn’t the only change underway. Multiple crews have in recent months discovered quicker ways to in and out of the fifth-generation stealth jet. In March, maintainers and pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, started using rapid crew swaps, sometimes known as "hot swaps," to get pilots into the cockpit faster.

"During a rapid crew swap at Hill, the first pilot lands and takes fuel while the jet is running," Micah Garbarino, spokesman for the 388th, told Military.com earlier this year. "Then they shut down to swap pilots, and the second pilot cranks up and takes off." The crews can also reverse that, he added, swapping pilots first with the second getting the fuel.

"This reduces the time it takes to get an aircraft in the air with a new pilot by two hours," Garbarino said. "This process is dependent on the aircraft landing Code 1 after the first flight, meaning no inflight issues were detected by the jet's Prognostics Health Management system."

The PHM, central to the aircraft's logistical analysis, reads the aircraft's data and can spot inefficiencies, reporting them back to pilots and maintainers evaluating the plane. A Code-1 landing means the aircraft hasn't recorded anything unsafe.

Having that system built into the jet allows the Hill crews to swap pilots and immediately launch another sortie, Garbarino said, rather than waiting on follow-on inspections. "We call what we do here a 'rapid' crew swap because the engine is off," Garbarino said in an email. "What makes this a unique capability for a single-engine fighter is that normally whenever an aircraft shuts down, maintainers complete a full post-operation inspection."... [then night flying sorties]

...Crews at Hill are testing out the technique for real-world missions, too, Garbarino added, since the system produces more combat-ready aircraft. The Air Force calls this Integrated Combat Turns, or ICTs: the rapid re-arming and refueling of an aircraft slated to go up again for a real-world mission.

The service used ICTs during past conflicts on its A-10 Warthog close-support mission attack aircraft, according to a release. "We've decided to bring these ICTs back because rapidly turning these aircraft will give us a competitive edge on our near-to-peer adversaries," Col. Barton Kenerson, 355th Maintenance Group commander at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, said in the release. "We realized over the years we've been fighting in the [air and space expeditionary force] construct that having this capability is something we need."

Like Davis-Monthan, Hill is "working toward implementing and perfecting practices like Integrated Combat Turns in the F-35A," Garbarino said."

Source: https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... -time.html
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/

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