The 173 Fighter Wing in Southern Oregon will host four additional jets at Kingsley Field. More jets are being provided to avoid a looming F-15 pilot shortage.
Kingsley Field is the only place in the United States where F-15 pilots are trained for the Air Force.
The four jets are on loan for about six months from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, California.
The F-15 pilot shortage was caused by a combination of factors. Technical Sargent Jefferson Thompson is with the 173 Fighter Wing. He says a primary reason is the Fresno base transitioned from F-16 jets to F-15s.
“All of the pilots that are certified on the old airframe have to be re-qualified. We have a course specifically designed for that—it’s called a T course. So a pilot can’t just go from an F-16 to an F-15 without being introduced to the airframe.”
Thompson says the F-15 is a premier fighter jet used to mitigate threats.
Two additional jets will be added during the morning and afternoon training exercises at Kingsley Field. Officials say the community shouldn’t notice any added noise.