The 173rd Fighter Wing finished a week of night flights at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore., Thursday, July 16, 2020. These flights are a part of the training syllabus that all incoming students must complete, making night flights a regular occurrence in the Klamath Basin.

Kingsley pilots complete week of night flight exercises

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles take off from Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon on June 16, 2020 in this stitched illustration. Student pilots are required to complete a certain number of flights at night as part of their training syllabus. (U.S. Air National Guard Illustration by Senior Airman Adam Smith)

Kingsley pilots complete week of night flight exercises

Two U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles take off with full afterburner at dusk at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on July 17, 2020. Student pilots are required to complete a certain number of flights at night as part of their training syllabus. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Adam Smith)


Kingsley pilots complete week of night flight exercises

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle takes off with full afterburner at dusk at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on July 17, 2020. This photo is a long exposure. Student pilots are required to complete a certain number of flights at night as part of their training syllabus. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Adam Smith)

Kingsley pilots complete week of night flight exercises

A U.S. Air Force F-15D Eagle takes off with full afterburner at dusk at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on June 16, 2020. Student pilots are required to complete a certain number of flights at night as part of their training syllabus. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Adam Smith)

Kingsley pilots complete week of night flight exercises

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle takes off with full afterburner at dusk at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on July 17, 2020. Student pilots are required to complete a certain number of flights at night as part of their training syllabus. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Adam Smith)

Kingsley pilots complete week of night flight exercises

A U.S. Air Force F-15D Eagle, piloted by a student pilot with an instructor in the back seat, taxis at dusk at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on June 16, 2020. Student pilots are required to complete a certain number of flights at night as part of their training syllabus. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Adam Smith)

In order to graduate, students familiarize themselves with night-specific requirements during these flights, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Adam Gaudinski, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15C instructor pilot.

“Although similar to daytime operations, there are several disparities that demand we ensure they can safely employ at night,” Gaudinski said. “Our customers, the Combat Air Force, expect graduating students to be proficient during nighttime operations and ready for night combat missions when they arrive on-station at their gaining units.”

He went on to say that students must learn to effectively use night vision equipment, refuel in the dark, fly formations, and utilize night-specific tactics.

According to Gaudinski, these flights occur about every month. There are many classes of students that pass through every year, and all must complete this training.

Gaudinski says that the pilots that pass through Kingsley have historically been able to perform to the high standards. “The students always amaze us with their ability to outperform our expectations,” he said, adding that this week’s batch was no different.

“The best part of night week is knowing that the students are ready to defend America’s national interest when called upon at a time and location of our choosing,” he added.