Airfield management secures safe place to land

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Photos by Staff Sgt. STACI MILLER

From filing flight plans and initiating search and rescue missions to conducting pavement evaluations, airfield management is responsible for ground and flight safety ensuring the well-being of pilots at Luke Air Force Base.

“We provide a safe and secure environment for aircraft to operate in,” said Senior Airman Jordan Stoltz, 56th Operations Support Squadron airfield management shift lead. “That means we have to make sure all the pavement is in good operating condition, the markings are clear and visible and the lighting is in good working order.”

Airfield managers are even responsible for the well-being of Luke pilots once they’re in the air.

Stoltz communicates with the air traffic control tower. Airfield management is responsible for ground and flight safety ensuring the wellbeing of pilots at Luke Air Force Base.

“Before take-off, pilots send us a flight plan, and we log it into the system,” said Senior Airman Monica Casanova, 56th OSS airfield management shift lead. “If something unexpected were to happen, we would have their plan and location.”

Stoltz checks the tires for foreign objects before entering the flightline. It’s essential vehicle operators entering the flightline check for foreign-object debris.

Airfield managers don’t just worry about flightline conditions and aircraft, they also monitor what vehicles and operators are driving around.

“We make sure everyone who drives out there is properly licensed and knows the rules and regulations,” Casanova said.

Each shift varies with the mission. It’s a diverse environment with aircraft constantly arriving and departing, various types of construction occurring and regular troubleshooting.

“This job is exciting because things change at a moment’s notice,” Casanova said. “You just never know what to expect when you walk in the door.”

The multitasking extends far beyond the airfield management counter. Their mission, in fact, extends to every category of person and every agency on base.

Stoltz communicates with the air traffic control tower. Airfield management is responsible for ground and flight safety ensuring the wellbeing of pilots at Luke Air Force Base.

“So many people depend on us,” Casanova said. “We’re eyes-on and hands-on out there. We have to measure things precisely, by the inch. We make sure all the moving parts move together, which keeps aircraft up in the air.”