493 FS Surge ops increases air traffic

by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/9/2016 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — The 48th Fighter Wing’s jets are flying more sorties during the month of March.

 “We are exercising the ability to fly a massive amount of sorties in a short amount of time, and preparing our pilots for operations that are outside the norm, so that they are ready in a stressful environment, to go out and execute the mission they’ve been trained to do,” explained Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron director of operations.

F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron rest between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron rest between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)


On a typical day, one fighter squadron flies 14 sorties each, lasting about an hour and a half. But, this month, squadrons are scheduled to fly up to 54 sorties in one day.  During this time, instead of shutting down the jets after the morning and evening sorties, each jets will be refueled twice, allowing pilots three opportunities to better hone their skills.

“It’s a great experience for the pilot to stay in the jet, get refueled and do it again,” Zumwalt said. “The sorties are exhausting, and this training pushes pilots further, testing their limits, so they are ready at a moment’s notice and can successfully accomplish the mission. Your typical pilot may get between nine and 12 sorties a week, and, on average, that’s how many pilots get in a month.”

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final checks on F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final checks on F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis


Zumwalt explained that this surge in training allows pilots to practice executing difficult maneuvers with precision.

“A good example is a break turn,” Zumwalt explained. “It’s a defensive or offensive hard turn, high-g maneuver to turn the aircraft very rapidly. Now, I can go out and do three of those in a single sortie or I can go out and do 12 of them in a single day. What you’ll find is that, during that day, it’s a lot of muscle memory, and by hitting it all at once we are able to zero in on the perfect spot for execution.”

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)


The Liberty Wing and surrounding community communities can expect to hear more jets in the sky during the coming weeks. For every aircraft the Liberty Wing puts in the sky, there is a lot of work that goes on in the background and a lot of beneficial training that prepares our Airmen for future operations. Training consistently and occasionally pushing the limits keeps everyone on the ground and in the air Forward, Ready, Now

A view of the cockpit of an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron as it rests on the runway between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

A view of the cockpit of an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron as it rests on the runway between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply