Health & Safety

July 27, 2012

Airfield management gets call when in-flight, ground emergencies occur

Tags:
Photo and story by Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Kory Hitchens, 56th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management Operations shift lead, picks up the primary crash phone July 25 at the Luke Air Force Base operations building. The phone rings whenever there is an in-flight or ground emergency.

Hundreds of phones ring across Luke Air Force Base each day and sometimes go to voicemail. There is one phone, however, that has to be picked up no matter what. It’s called the primary crash phone and it’s red.

The crash network center is in airfield management; its purpose is to inform agencies either by phone or radio of in-flight or ground emergencies.

The whole process begins with a call from air traffic control on the primary crash phone to airfield management.

“No matter what we are doing at the operations counter, as soon as the red phone rings, we drop whatever it is,” said Senior Airman William Hazard, 56th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management Operations shift lead. “The phone needs to be picked up right away because our job is to get the information out to other agencies as soon as we receive it.”

“In-flight emergencies range from a light going off in the aircraft’s cockpit indicating a possible system failure to a hung gun, which occurs when a bullet in an aircraft is stuck in the gun chamber and won’t fire,” said Senior Master Sgt. Paul Portugal, 56th OSS airfield manager.

However, not all incidents happen when the aircraft is in the air; sometimes they occur when the aircraft is on the ground.

“Ground emergencies can include fuel spills, nose gear malfunctions that cause the aircraft to have steering difficulties or hydrazine spills, which are caused when the emergency power unit starts leaking,” Hazard said.

Different terms describe the type of emergency occurring, like a hung munition, which refers to a simulated or live bomb that doesn’t drop when the pilot presses the button.

While it is important for airfield management Airmen to know the nature of the situation, what’s most important is the information given to the Airman on the receiving end of the call.

“When we get a call for an in-flight incident from air traffic control, we write down the information verbatim,” Portugal said. “Air traffic control gives the aircraft call sign, its type, the time, when and where it will land, how much fuel is left, and the nature of the emergency.”

The Airmen in airfield management use a black secondary crash phone to then disseminate the information simultaneously to 16 various agencies including the command post, fire department, security forces, public affairs and weather. Depending on the agency, some have the capability to communicate back while others do not.

“It’s important for us to get the information out to these agencies, because depending on the nature of the incident, certain agencies may need to respond,” Portugal said. “For example, if it’s physiological in nature, such as a pilot blacking out, then the flight doctor may need to respond. Or if there is an actual aircraft crash, then command post will need to know as well as medical personnel and security forces so they can cordon off the area.”

Although life-threatening in-flight or ground emergencies are a possibility, Portugal has not witnessed or recorded any aircraft crashes or explosions at Luke during his time here.

“We take every crash phone call seriously, because there’s always a possibility that something could happen,” Portugal said. “Aircraft emergency response is a total Team Luke effort. We take our responsibility seriously, and as a result, Team Luke continues to successfully train the world’s greatest F-16 fighter pilots and maintainers.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Fourth of July: Celebrate safely

On July 4th, America will celebrate its 239th birthday with festivities across the country. They may include fireworks, swimming, boating, camping, picnics, barbeques, consumption of alcohol and travel. “From 2009 to 2013 during the summer months of June through September, the Air Force had three fatalities,” said Ben Bruce, 56th Fighter Wing Ground Safety manager....
 
 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents June 15 through 21: Tickets Security forces issued citations for six moving violations and two nonmoving violations. Traffic-related incidents June 17: Security forces responded to a report of a minor two-vehicle accident at the intersection of 143rd Avenue and Spad Street. An investigation revealed the driver of...
 
 
Staff Sgt. Staci Miller

Finding perfect shape takes out-of-box look

Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Senior Airman Grace Lee, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, changed her definition of the perfect body for herself by getting a new perspective. Weight gain has been a constant struggle for me since I was...
 

 
6_121006-F-EC705-040

June: Men’s Health Month

AF promotes awareness of diseases in men Airman 1st Class Jordan Cook, 56th Medical Operations Squadron medical lab technician, takes blood from Karl Loving, retired Army major, during a men’s health expo at Luke Air Force Ba...
 
 
7_courtesy-photo

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

Courtesy photo It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Forc...
 
 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents June 8 through 14: Tickets Security forces issued citations for two moving violations and one nonmoving violation. Emergency responses June 8: Security forces and firefighters responded to a report of a child, age 3, locked inside a vehicle near Bldg. 942. The child was accidentally locked...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>