Training exercise tests wings’ combat readiness 02

An airman monitors an F-35A Lightning II at night in September 2020 at Hill Air Force Base.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — F-35 pilots from Hill Air Force Base will be flying during the evening hours this week.

According to a statement from the 388th Fighter Wing, pilots from the active duty 388th and reserve 419th fighter wings will conduct local night-flying operations this week. Portions of Hill’s F-35 fleet will fly until as late as 9:30 p.m. until Friday, according to the 388th statement.

During the nighttime operation, Northern Utah residents will notice increased activity during the evening hours as base fighter pilots sharpen their nighttime combat flying skills. According to a video the 388th released on their social media pages, night operations are limited to what is required for airmen to remain proficient. The fighter wings are required to regularly fly during the night to maintain combat readiness and all-weather capabilities. The increased flying also enables wing leadership to evaluate aircraft maintenance and operational performance.

According to an Air Force fact sheet, Hill operates one of the busiest airfields in the military, with approximately 45,000 flight operations taking place there annually. Aircraft from all over the United States and internationally frequently fly into Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex, which performs maintenance on dozens of aircraft. Hill’s Utah Test and Training Range in Utah’s west desert also draws aircraft from all over the world.

But the fighter wings perform the bulk of flight operations on base, training to remain combat ready with the F-35. Arrivals and departure are coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration, Salt Lake International Airport and Ogden-Hinckley Airport. The base fact sheet says pilots limit flying over densely populated areas, schools, churches and other public buildings. F-35s climb to assigned altitudes as quickly as possible to mitigate noise.

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