The launch of a new forward area refueling point at North Fort Hood reduced 20-minute helicopter refueling times down to just four minutes while providing actual training conditions found in a combat zone.
Division West’s 166th Aviation Brigade pilots previously had to fly to designated airstrips off-post, fully power-off and exit their helicopters to conduct a self-imposed refuel. The longer process is known as a “cold fuel” since the aircraft is turned off and is cold.
“Now, pilots and crew remain on board their helicopter with the motor running while a support unit trained in the area of fuel and support logistics quickly replenishes the fuel supply,” said Chief Warrant Officer-4 William Noyer, 166th Aviation Brigade’s materiel officer.
“The process is known as a ‘hot fuel’ since the helicopter keeps running,” he said. “This process happens every day throughout the Army but is new to North Fort Hood. It saves time, which allows pilots to get back into the training mission sooner than before.”
Most of the brigade’s battalions spend the majority of their time training National Guard and Reserve units mobilized for deployment at North Fort Hood.
Pilots appreciate the new refueling point, because they no longer have to take time out of training to get fuel far away, Noyer said.