The sounds of F-16’s in night flight training will be heard in Davis and Weber Counties beginning Monday night and running through the 19th of December. Pilots from the 419th and 388th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base will be flying out to the Utah Test and Training Range and back during the exercise. Lt. Col. Todd Robbins is the 4th Fighter Squadron Commander at Hill. He says combat situations involve 24 hour a day flying so, in order for their pilots to be combat ready, they have to spend hours doing combat maneuvers in the dark.
“The night presents unique challenges to the single seat fighter pilot of the F-16 in that you don’t have all of the visual cues that you would have in a daytime environment,” says Lt. Col. Robbins.
Robbins says community support of these types of operations is critical.
“We have a great relationship with the surrounding communities here; one of the best relations I’ve seen in my time in the Air Force," says Robbins. "And we try and be good stewards of that in terms of making sure our night flying doesn’t extend too late in the evening,” he says.
Robbins says it helps to have short winter days so the pilots can get out to the desert at a reasonable hour and still get the training they need.