Sunset Launch 1

An F-35A Lightning takes off during night flying operations at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Aug. 20, 2019. Night flying is required for pilots to sharpen their combat skills and maintainers work around the clock to prepare jets for flight, inspect them after flight, and get them ready for the next flying day. The 388th Fighter Wing is the Air Force’s first combat-coded F-35A wing.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — You might notice more planes in the sky this week around Hill Fir Force Base.

Starting Monday, the base’s 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing units will be conducting large combat exercises in the air. The exercise is expected to last until Thursday, Sept. 12.

The fighter wings will fly roughly 80 sorties per day, which is 20 more than a normal flying day, according to a base press release. A sortie is a combat mission of an aircraft, starting when the craft takes off.

During the exercise, aircraft will take off from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last aircraft scheduled to land before dark, the release said.

The exercise will simulate a large force engagement with enemy aircraft, with maintainers being tasked with continually providing ready aircraft and pilots taking off in waves.

Reach city editor Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!