173rd FW to conduct night flying operations April 25 - 28

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The 173rd Fighter Wing will conduct night flying operations beginning next week Monday through Thursday, April 25 -28.  Operations will take place approximately 4 p.m. through 10 p.m. 

Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15C student pilots at Kingsley Field, the premiere F-15C schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.

"Night flying is an essential skill our F-15 student pilots need to learn," said Col. Jeff Smith, commander of the173rd FW.  "We are grateful for the exceptional support the 173rd Fighter Wing receives from the local community and try our best to minimize the noise impact." 

The majority of the training will occur in the military operating airspace to the east of Lakeview where the pilots can fly without lights.  However, the local community will most likely hear the jets during take-offs and approaches to and from Kingsley Field.  Take-offs will occur after sundown and the jets will return approximately an hour-and-a-half later.

"Whether defending the homeland or deployed in contingency operations, F-15 pilots must be proficient at night flying," said Col. Jeff Edwards, 173rd Operations Group commander.   "Night flying training includes the full spectrum of skills needed to be a combat-ready F-15 pilot.  On their first night mission, students fly with an instructor pilot in their rear cockpit, and they practice takeoffs/landings, air-to-air refueling, use of night vision goggles, and basic intercepts.  On their subsequent night missions, students fly solo as #2 in a 2-ship formation and practice tactical intercepts, which simulate realistic night air combat scenarios."

Community members may contact the wing's public affairs office at 541-885-6677 to express any concerns they have during this time.