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Hill AFB conducting night flying operations from now through April

By Ryan Aston - | Mar 11, 2024

Photo supplied, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

Two U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base are pictured at Ämari Air Base in Estonia on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th fighter wings at Hill Air Force Base will be conducting night flying operations with the F-35A Lightning II aircraft for the next several days, and also in the coming weeks, as announced by 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs.

Night flying exercises were scheduled to begin Monday and continue occurring until March 22, and also throughout the month of April, according to a news release.

“Every time we night fly, we try to fly as early in the day as possible,” Col. Michael Gette, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing, said in a provided interview. “This time of year, the sun sets fairly early. So, we should be done most nights by about 10:30 at the latest.”

Per the release, the Air Force limits night flying to what is required for pilots to maintain their combat readiness and all-weather capabilities for potential deployments. Gette noted that there have been deployments to the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East in the last year.

“There’s a lot of things we do that you can only really do at night, which is refuel at night, do some of our tactics and things that we need to practice,” he said.

The exact days and times night flying will occur may vary based on a number of factors, including airspace availability on the Utah Test and Training Range, weather and other support elements.

While the noise generated by the F-35A and other aircraft can be a nuisance for those living near Hill Air Force Base, Gette has been impressed by the level of support the Air Force receives as it conducts operations.

“The local community here is more supportive than any community I’ve ever been in,” he added. “We really couldn’t do what we do without their support, day in and day out.”


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