Kingsley Field Expands F-15 Training

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, December 20 2013 at 3:51 PM, Updated: Fri, December 20 2013 at 4:04 PM

Several F-16 fighter jet crews from Fresno are learning how to make the switch to F-15's at Kingsley Field...And the added training is also helping to prepare crews at Kingsley Field for possible expansion.

The F-16 has a single engine, and a single tail...

While the F-15 has two engines, and a twin tail.

Captain Luke Campagne of the 144th Fighter Wing of Fresno, California notes they fly differently...

"Both, high-performance sports cars - it's really hard to differentiate between the two, they just have a different feel to them."

There are four more F-15's than usual at Kingsley Field, and 38 additional airmen from Fresno are learning how to fly and maintain them.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Smith of the Oregon Air National Guard notes that it's also a bit of a test for Kingsley Field...

"It also means, it's kind of proof of concept that we can absorb more people here, in the existing infrastructure and still accomplish more of a mission."

Lieutenant Colonel Smith adds that maintaining the F-15 is a little more complex than the F-16...

"You can't just go replace that box.  You've got to go dig into it, try to figure out what went wrong with it, put it back together."

Crews from Fresno will be rotating through about every two months.

"Everyone here is awesome."  Says Captain Campagne.  "We've been fully integrated into the team, just like one of their own."

Lieutenant Colonel Smith points out that people in Klamath Falls will notice some extra jets flying soon...

"Starting December 30th, we'll have about 4 more sorties a day.  Two in the morning, and two again in the afternoon in addition to what we normally do."

And the additional 38 airmen are likely to result in some additional business for local stores.

The airmen from Fresno arrived about the same time as sub-zero temperatures hit the Klamath Basin.

It should be considerably warmer when they leave in late June, or early July.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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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