'Hot fuel' saves time, gets choppers back training quickly
May 9, 2013
NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas -- The launch of a new forward area refueling point here reduces 20-minute helicopter refueling times down to just four while providing actual training conditions found in a combat zone.
Through a partnership with the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's 53rd Quartermaster Coompany and First Army Division West's 166th Aviation Brigade, pilots no longer have to fully power-off, and exit their helicopters to conduct a refuel. The longer process is known as a "cold fuel" since the aircraft is turned off and is cold, so-to-speak.
"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 aviation materiel officer.
"The process is known as '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."
The process also saves the Army considerable money and preserves valuable training hours lost while flying to civilian airfields for fuel, said Maj. Gen. Warren E. Phipps Jr., Division West commanding general.
Pilots appreciate the new FARP, because they no longer have to take time out of training to get fuel far away, Noyer said. The FARP also serves to train the 13th ESC's fuel handlers.
The majority of the 166th's battalions spend most of their time training National Guard and Reserve units mobilized for deployment overseas at North Fort Hood. Roughly half of the Army's aviation force is in the Reserve component and all of those aviation units mobilizing for deployment do so under the watchful eyes of 166th Aviation trainers.