US Airmen from the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron performed ‘hot-pit refueling’ on F-35 jets with a Type 1 hydrant system from the 1950s and hose cart from the 1970s.
According to the US Air Force, a ‘hot-pit’ is when an aircraft lands, refuels then takes off again without turning off the engine.
“Traditional refueling takes upwards of 2 hours while the hot-pit gold standard takes 13 minutes, which translates to huge monetary saving.”
A release from the US Air Force states that crews 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.
The release goes on to add that the crew decided to use a Type 1 hydrant system from the 1950s and hose carts from the 1970s directly connected to 500,000 gallon tanks, allowing them to virtually endlessly refuel F-35s.
With this new process, crews 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”, said Senior Airman Christian Cook in the release.