The 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight opened a new fuel pump house and fill stand that allows them to more quickly resupply fuel trucks and refuel jets on the flight line at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. March 15, 2018.
The pump house delivers fuel through an underground pipe directly to the fill stand on the flight line, allowing fuel trucks to replenish and refuel aircraft without having to leave the controlled operations areas where F-16s and F-35s are maintained.
“It’s basically a bigger gas station,” said Senior Airman Kyle Hood, Fuels Knowledge Operations administrator. “It allows us to move fuel from off-base contractors to our tanks here, and then into the pump house, which facilitates their delivery to the flight line. The fill stand then allows our trucks to stay on the flight line, fill up directly from there, and respond to aircraft accordingly.”
Fuel trucks were previously required to drive more than a mile at low speed in order to refill at external pump stations, before going through time-consuming entry control procedures to reenter the flight line.
Edward Smith, Fuels Management Flight terminal manager, believes the new pump house and fill stand, built simultaneously over the past two years, will save considerable time and improve safety.
“You’re driving a large fuel truck around aircraft and through traffic on base,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of things going on, a lot of congestion. So just the fact that they’re not driving as much will have a large impact on safety.”
Increased refueling capacity will also contribute to the expansion of the F-35 program at Luke, where the current fleet of 68 aircraft will eventually grow to 144.
“As far as the actual construction of the pump house and fill stand, they’re done,” Smith said. “However, there are going to be more phases for upgrades in the future to better support the F-35. We’ll improve tank truck offloading. We’ll increase the manifolds on the trucks. Everything is getting geared toward moving fuel faster.”
Hood is confident the new facilities will not only improve fuel output and sortie rates, but also benefit the base as a whole.
“Everyone at the Fuels Management Flight is gung-ho and excited about the pump house,” Hood said. “I think our increase in speed and efficiency with our positive attitude will help everyone else feel the same way too.”
Expansion at Luke will continue as the 56th Fighter Wing builds the future of airpower.