F-35A night operations 1

A pilot from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 421st Fighter Squadron prepares to launch an F-35A Lightning II during night flying operations at Hill Air Force Base, March 26, 2019. 

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Pilots at Hill Air Force Base will start their recurrent local night flying schedule next week.

In a press release, Hill spokesman Micah Garbarino said Northern Utah residents will notice increased jet activity during the evening hours as F-35 pilots practice night-time combat skills from Nov. 12-22.

Garbarino said night operations are limited, with pilots flying at night just enough to meet certain proficiency requirements required by the Air Force. Hill’s two F-35 fighter wings, the active-duty 388th and the reserve 419th, are required to train at night to maintain their readiness and all-weather capabilities.

Most of the night flying is scheduled to wrap up by 10:30 p.m., but some flights will be later than that Garbarino said.

The two fighter wings now have three fighter squadrons with more than 70 jets. Garbarino said the growing fleet, which will top out at 78 planes, factors into the increased night activity, as many new pilots need training.

A group of Hill’s fighter jets, pilots and other associated personal returned from Al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, earlier this month.

The deployment that marked the first time the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II jets performed real-world combat missions.

Supporting the Combined Joint Task Force’s Operation Inherent Resolve mission, the group performed several missions, including close air support and “regional deterrence against aggressors,” according to a press release from Hill.

The deployed group was made up of pilots from the active duty 4th Fighter Squadron and reserve 466th Fighter Squadron, as well as active duty and reserve airmen in the 4th and 466th Aircraft Maintenance Units.

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