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.


 
 

 
Lightening-within-five

Lightning over Luke …

The F-35 Lightning II isn’t the only lightning striking over Luke Air Force Base. This strike, about five miles west of the Luke flightline, was captured on camera at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 12 at the jet engine test cell.
 
 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 
 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Commander’s call Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a commander’s call Monday in the Luke Air Force Base theater at 7 a.m. for Airmen, 9 a.m. for NCOs, 11 a.m. for senior NCOs, 1 p.m. for civilians, 3 p.m. for officers and 5 p.m. for those not able to make another...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Commandant challenges students to be best

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant, briefs students Aug. 12 about the active-shooter exercise Aug. 15 at Luke Air Force Base. Poisson asked ...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin