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'Hot pitting' returns to Incirlik

Senior Airman Blake Mellom and Senior Airman Benjamin Polichnowski prepare to refuel an F-16 Fighting Falcon Jan. 22 at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Airman Mellom is assigned to the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and Airman Polichnowski of the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, both from Spangdalhem Air Base, Germany, in support of the 22nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Thomas Kennedy)

Senior Airman Blake Mellom and Senior Airman Benjamin Polichnowski prepare to refuel an F-16 Fighting Falcon Jan. 22 at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Airman Mellom is assigned to the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron and Airman Polichnowski of the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, both from Spangdalhem Air Base, Germany, in support of the 22nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Thomas Kennedy)

Senior Airman William Murray and Senior Airman Blake Mellom inspect their equipment between "hot pit" refueling Jan. 22 at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Airman Murray is assigned to the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Airman Mellom is from the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, both from Spangdalhem Air Base, Germany, in support of the 22nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Thomas Kennedy)

Senior Airman William Murray and Senior Airman Blake Mellom inspect their equipment between "hot pit" refueling Jan. 22 at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Airman Murray is assigned to the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Airman Mellom is from the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, both from Spangdalhem Air Base, Germany, in support of the 22nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Thomas Kennedy)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNEWS) -- Airmen from Incirlik's 39th Logistic Readiness Squadron recently began practicing a refueling technique not used at this base in more than a decade.

The technique, called hot pitting, allows aircraft such as F-16 Fighting Falcons that are deployed here for training to land and refuel without ever stopping their engines.

Senior Master Sgt. Allen Hornback, a fuels manager, said hot pitting also saves time for the Airmen who deliver the fuel.

"If you run 30 planes across the pit in a day, you can save at least 30 man hours, and you also have to take into account the wear and tear you save on our assets," Sergeant Hornback said.

Incirlik AB began hot pitting aircraft as the 22nd Fighter Squadron arrived from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, to train in Turkey's warmer climate. Accompanying the 22nd FS are elements from the 52nd Logistic Readiness Squadron and the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who also refuel aircraft by hot pitting.

Hot pitting allows pilots more training time, gives ground crews a chance to practice skills they might not normally exercise, and offers an opportunity to use equipment that has not been employed in several years.

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