DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — If you could cut your time in half and be a little more efficient while you work, would you? Aviators will now be able to save time fueling up and have extra flight time right here in the Circle City.
According to General Manager at Aero-One Aviation, Scott Capehart, hot fuel gives pilots the ability to gas up while their engine is still running. The hot fuel at Dothan Regional Airport, specifically, gives military aviators an opportunity to quickly fuel up and get back to training.
“By having hot fuel or rapid refuel in Dothan, we have opened up the Eastern training area for a quicker response for them to be able to spend more time training rather than having to wait for fuel on the east side of Fort Rucker,” Capehart said.
Capehart said it was around $1 million dollars to construct the brand new 1,700 square foot building equipped with a cafe, bathrooms, and air conditioning.
He said they also bought the necessary tools needed, like two trucks and pumps to be able to dispense the hot fuel. This is an investment Capehart said was long overdue, and great for aviators at Fort Rucker.
“All the most modern capabilities, everything is digitalized,” Capehart said. “We are able to provide them the fuel and they have a ticket in hand about 15 seconds after we’ve started pumping fuel.”
Being the only hot fuel center towards the east side of Fort Rucker that can provide this service, allows the aviators to better use their training hours.
The crew tells WDHN that hot fuel cuts the time in half for aviators who are often doing their training. They said this allows them to stay in the sky for longer amounts of time.
Pumping well over 250 gallons a minute, Capehart said, right now they service around 18 helicopters a day, but they hope that number continues to grow.
According to Capehart, cold fuel isn’t as fast of a process. It could take a helicopter approximately 45 minutes from landing to take off. Hot fuel, Capehart said can get pilots up and out in about five minutes.
“We have the opportunity for two pads, two trucks and we can run them both simultaneously, we have the ability to expand those hours upon request,” Capehart said. “We just hope people recognize it and utilize the facility.”