Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, September 12 2012 at 4:27 PM, Updated: Wed, September 12 2012 at 4:35 PM
The 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls is doing night flight training this week.
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Edwards says that his first night flight in an F-15 was 'unbelievable'...
"The sheer power of the airplane - two, you lack some of the daytime cues that you normally see. So, it's kind of like being in a dark tunnel at night, and going super fast."
Edwards adds that pilots fly several evenings as part of their training. "When they go through the basic course here they get four rides of night employment starting out from very basic one against other aircraft, way up to two against numerous other aircraft."
A runway resurfacing project has been shifted to daytime hours to allow for the night training.
Lt. Col. Edwards notes that learning to fly with night vision goggles is a key element in fighter training...
"Primarily, because as you've seen in the past, many times initial combat operations happen at night."
The fighter wing plans to wrap up their latest night training element by the end of this week.
Pilots will leave Kingsley Field shortly after sundown, and return about two hours later. The training takes place primarily in airspace over southeastern Oregon.
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.