Airfield management keeps Nellis flying high

Air Force photograph by Airman Bailee A. Darbasie

Airfield management Airmen assigned to the 57th Operations Support Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., are required to work faster and harder to keep up with the high rate of sorties carried out on the Nellis flightline.

The attention to detail and urgency demonstrated by airfield management on a daily basis are what keeps Nellis a step above the rest. The main responsibility of the shift leads is ensuring the flightline’s safety through preparation, coordination and communication.

“Throughout our shifts, we’re constantly assisting pilots coming through Base Operations,” said Senior Airman Alexander Bills, 57th OSS airfield management shift lead. “Pilots wouldn’t be able to fly without a flight plan. They come from all over the world and we help them prepare by putting their flight plans into the system and giving them the information they need for the mission.”

Flightline operations are at risk of delays, stops and mishaps without the careful preparation of airfield management shift leads, said Bills.

“Every task in airfield management has a butterfly effect,” said Senior Airman Sierra Rodwick, 57th OSS airfield management shift lead. “If one thing goes wrong on our end, the whole flightline is affected until we can resolve it.”

Day-to-day operations for airfield management require constant coordination with numerous agencies across the Nellis flightline.

“Throughout the day we’re coordinating with the air traffic control tower, transient alert, the command post and any other necessary flightline agencies,” said Rodwick. “The coordination allows for the flightline to have smooth and secure operations.”

Shift leads must properly communicate with agencies across the base on issues such as flight plans and status, and closing down or opening a runway to achieve successful coordination.

“The majority of our day is spent communicating to agencies around the flightline to make sure aircraft, vehicles and Airmen are where they need to be when they need to be there,” said Bills. “Communication is the key to preventing accidents and injuries.”

From tasks as minor as putting flight plans into systems, to flightline emergencies, Nellis’ Airfield Management Airmen are on the scene doing what they can to keep the flightline safe and the mission moving forward.