F-15 Night flights

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, April 16 2014 at 3:19 PM, Updated: Tue, April 22 2014 at 4:52 PM

Klamath Falls, Ore. - F-15 pilots are getting night flight training at Kingsley Field this week.

Flying an F-15 is difficult enough during the day just imagine doing it in the dark.

"We typically fight our wars at night."  Notes Major Ryan Bocchi of the Oregon Air National Guard.  "So we've got to effectively train them at night with night vision goggles."

Major Bocchi adds that the night flight training takes place about every 6 weeks.

"The busier we get the more often we're doing it."

The jets create a thunderous roar.

Isaac Blodgett was one of a group of 4-H members on hand to watch the take-offs.

"What's your impression of seeing the jets take off this close?'  'It's pretty cool - for sure - it's a great experience."

While the flights begin and end at Kingsley Field, Bocchi says the training takes place over a remote section of southeastern Oregon.

"Going to the air refueling track, and getting gas from a tanker at night - which becomes a challenge in itself."

The current night flying exercises will continue through Thursday.

Each pilot in training will make about 4 night flights.

The night training missions are usually completed by 11:30 p.m.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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