MacDill AFB conducts its first KC-135 hot pit refuel

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hiram Martinez
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Team MacDill took another step in accelerating change and ensuring readiness when maintainers from the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) made history by conducting MacDill’s first KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft hot pit refueling, May 25, 2021.

The purpose of hot-pit refueling is to keep the engine of a grounded aircraft running in order to reduce generation time.

Running engines provide the aircrew with an air source, allowing the aircraft to restart the other engines immediately after the refueling is complete. A process that would normally take two hours is cut down to one or less.

“We have real expert technicians,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Johnston, a refueling craftsman with the 6th AMXS. “We’re going to constantly evaluate the process to make sure we’re doing this safely and efficiently in order to be ready when the time comes.”

Quicker refueling times means more aircraft are able to receive the fuel they need to stay in the fight.

“Our KC-135’s are refueling bomber, fighter, reconnaissance, and cargo aircraft,” said Col. Benjamin Jonsson, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander.

After the successful training, MacDill’s Airmen will use their knowledge on hot-pit refueling to continue to certify maintainers ensuring rapid global mobility.

“Our aircrew and maintainers were doing this downrange in the Middle East,” said Jonsson. “Now we’re doing it here in a training environment, and it's going to help us conduct this in every area of responsibility, globally, to make us a more lethal fighting force.”