MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Blades spin and wind whips across the face of a Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants Airman while an HH-60G Pave Hawk taxis toward them.
Engines roar as the Airman readily waits to refuel and ensure the aircrew’s mission can continue as quickly as possible.
This is the scene of a hot pit refuel conducted by the POL Airmen from the 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
“With hot-pit refuels, we’re prepositioned, and they taxi to us and with the engines still running,” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Beggin, 23rd LRS noncommissioned officer in charge of fuels distribution. “They hookup, refuel and they're back up in the air, and it decreases ground time by 66 percent.”
Less ground time means more time in the air and in the mission. This tactic equips aircrews with the ability to push the operations tempo and also minimize the demand for maintenance support.
“Maintenance is hard pressed for people, and they’ve got people downrange,” said Maj. Jeffrey Budis, 347th Operations Support Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk evaluator pilot. “Hot pitting lets us put all our shifts together so we can take a jet, let the day guys fly it, and since the rotors are turning and it’s clearly still working, we go right to the pit, top it off, and then I give that jet to a whole other crew and let them go train.
“[This method allows us to] cycle through a ton of pilots and [special mission aviators]," Budis added. "We get to maximize our training objectives.”
According to Budis’ prior experiences downrange, not only do hot pits at home station help meet aircrew training objectives but it puts Moody’s POL Airmen in a position to meet the high demands at a deployed location.
“The obvious benefit of hot pitting downrange is it lets us keep going on with the mission longer,” Budis said. “In the [casualty evacuation] days, it let us go get a guy, save him, bring him back to the hospital, top off and keep going.
“I would pit three, four, six times in one sortie," he continued. "I’d start the jet once and keep it running all afternoon. So the operational benefit is massive.”
Beggin echoed Budis’ enthusiasm and confidence in Moody’s POL team for their seamless transition into deployed environments.
“It’s a good capability to have, and we’re hard on each other,” Beggin said. “It’s in good faith to get Airmen where they need to be to deal with the high pressure situations like going to a deployed location where you could be in a truck [refueling] 12-to-14 hours a day, six days a week.”