Holloman | 311th FS Pilots conduct ground refuel training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adrian Salazar
  • 49th Wing Public

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.-- The 311th Fighter Squadron is completing ground refueling training on the F-16 Viper, until every instructor and student pilot has had the opportunity to practice “filling the tank.”

A typical day at the 311th Fighter Squadron starts with instructors giving their students objectives to study and train for throughout the day. With this new training students take time towards the end of the day hooking a jet up to a refueling truck.

“Right now, we’re doing this with our senior class as well as our new class once they start hitting the flight line,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Sean Robere, 311th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations.

This training builds a Multi-Capable force that is more flexible in order to meet the Agile Combat Employment mission dictated by Air Force doctrine.

“We’re trying to give our students a leg up in their training by providing a foundation for ACE tactics,” said Robere. “What happens if we need to divert to a location that has crews unfamiliar with our aircraft?”

Students are constantly studying and training to complete a robust training schedule so instructors carefully balance this refuel training into their schedule.

“We’re not trying to overload our students with knowledge,” said Robere. “Our senior class has been doing walkarounds for just under a year now and this just piles on to the knowledge they already have of the aircraft.”

Pilots coordinate with F-16 crew chiefs and learn step-by-step how to refuel the aircraft safely according to the technical order.

“It was a great experience to show them all the personal protective equipment and how to refuel the aircraft following the technical order,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Tillman, 311th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief.

Some pilots have made an effort to visit the flightline and learn about specific maintenance jobs besides refueling.

“I’m always excited to teach pilots how to work on the jet; I’ve had pilots come to service an oil change and even engine installs,” said Tillman. “We heavily encourage pilots coming out and learning about the jets they fly every day so we can share our experiences together.”

Shared experiences are one of the best ways for Airmen to develop a closer bond with each other and, although it’s not the primary objective of the refueling training, it’s something both pilots and crew chiefs value highly.

“I went out there and was led around by a super knowledgeable Airmen and a great crew chief who was super awesome to work with,” said Robere. “Just getting a little more contact with those guys is super important to us.”

Tillman shared the same sentiment.

“I make it a point to have a good conversation with pilots every day because it builds a better relationship and makes it easier to focus on working on the task during those tougher jobs.”

The Airmen and leadership at Holloman continue to train and develop every day and by learning new skills they can create a greater impact across the larger combat Air Force.