Air Force jets fleeing Hurricane Ian fly to Wright-Patt

U.S. Air Force aircraft in the path of Hurricane Ian are flying to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to avoid damage.

Dayton-area residents may see more aircraft than usual over the next couple of days as Air Force aircraft begin evacuating to seek shelter from Ian, which was declared a hurricane Monday and made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm just west of Fort Myers, Florida.

Aircraft from Air Force bases near the affected areas of the storm began arriving Tuesday at Wright-Patterson.

The arrival and departure times are subject to change, depending on the future direction and movement of the weather.

Wright-Patterson has been a popular haven for aircraft affected by storms. In August 2020, up to 72 aircraft had been expected at the base as a haven from Tropical Storm Marco and Hurricane Laura at the time.

“We already have a safe haven plan in place for these events so we are ready to go once we get notified,” Dave Egner, 88th Operations Support Squadron’s director of operations, said in a base release in 2020. “The key players immediately get together to go over the plans and processes.”

The base has played this role many times over the years. Some 15 F-22 jets from Tydall Air Force Base outside Panama City sought shelter at Wright-Patterson in 2018. Eight F-15 Eagles from the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida, landed at Wright-Patterson in September 2017. Some 14 F-15 Eagles from the 125th Fighter Wing found a haven at the base in 2008.

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