WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Every year as bikers gather at the start line of the Hotter’n Hell Hundred, thousands watch airmen from Sheppard Air Force conduct a flyover high above Scott Avenue.
Major Tyler Branyan with the 80th Flying Training Wing said his family’s been riding in Hotter’N Hell Hundreds longer than he’s been in the Air Force.
“I remember the first couple of times my dad rode in the race and talking about how great it was to go through SAFB, making it through Hells Gate to get it complete, and at the time I was still in college, I wasn’t even in the air force,” Maj. Branyan said. “Now here it is 10-15 years later that I get a chance to take part in that flyover, and it’s going to be really special.”
Participating in the flyover for the 40th Hotter’N Hell is like a dream come true for Branyan.
“It’s going to be great to run right down the street, right over all those waiting fans and cyclists waiting to go,” Branyan said.
Same goes for other airmen in the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, or ENJJPT, who will be thousands of feet above thousands of riders itching to get started.
“Being a young student through pilot training here, never would I have ever thought I’d be leading a flyover for this many people this early, so it’s cool to see it come to fruition for sure and get the opportunity I feel really appreciative of,” Captain Kyle Yockey said.
The pilots are not riding in the race, but still getting involved in a major way.
“The impact for us to be able to participate in our community and kind of that back and forth means a lot to us and to be able to be a small part of that is something we all look forward to,” Yockey said.
They’re not just getting involved in this community, but they’re showcasing the talent they train from the 14 participating NATO nations around the world in the ENJJPT program.
“So we’re piecing together multiple nations which really imbodies ENJJPT, so it’s not only the flyover itself, but also who’s composing it and who’s flying in it means a lot to us as well,” Capt. Yockey said.
The group of pilots have been making starting lines memorable for years.