HomeNewsArticle Display

Sunny winter skies at 173rd Fighter Wing

173rd Fighter Wing F-15 pilots and crew chiefs ready the aircraft for a training mission at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. January 27, 2015.  Unseasonably warm winter weather has proven to be beneficial to the flying mission.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Condit/ released)

173rd Fighter Wing F-15 pilots and crew chiefs ready the aircraft for a training mission at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. January 27, 2015. Unseasonably warm winter weather has proven to be beneficial to the flying mission. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Condit/ released)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. -- Snow, frost, ice, and treacherous roads ... these are typical weather issues the Airmen of the 173rd Fighter Wing are familiar with. Kingsley Field always welcomes newcomers with an in-depth driving primer on winter driving safety in the Klamath Basin.

However, this December and January--just the opposite.

While snow pummels the East Coast Kingsley Field Airmen bask in sixty degree weather and sunshine.

"I couldn't believe it; I rode my motorcycle all weekend," Tech. Sgt. Daniel Condit, 173rd FW Public Affairs, recounted. 

The negative effects of this unseasonably warm weather will likely arrive this summer.  The lack of snow in the mountains usually leads to water shortages and drought. But that aside, the clear skies and runways benefit the flying mission here.

Major Victor Knill, 173rd FW Assistant Scheduler, says adverse winter weather has grounded the fleet for a day or more in the past.

"We do not plan our long term flying schedule based on weather; we simply plan our schedule to meet the needs of student production," said Knill.  "But if there is significant weather here at the base then we may look to delay the takeoffs until it clears up or if there are indications that it will not clear up then we will cancel flying.  Either way, delaying or cancelling brings challenges because we need to meet the student timeline."

Not this year; Knill says the weather "has had little to no impact."

So, as Airman and Soldiers on the East Coast help to dig their communities out of the snow and ice, the 173rd FW is taking advantage of the unusually warm sunshine and continues to "train the best fighter pilots in the world."

The 173rd FW is home to the sole United States F-15C Eagle aircraft training base for the U.S. Air Force.