ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Civilian pilots from the Altus and surrounding area visited Altus Air Force Base on March 10, 2018 to experience two aircraft static displays, simulators and a safety briefing.
The event provided local pilots with guidance about general flying operations on Altus AFB and how it affects their flight patterns, while also reinforcing communication with the local community.
“We’re trying to boost our community relations and help promote safer skies around the base,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason Heffner, a flight safety officer assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing. “We started with a pancake breakfast, then continued with a Federal Aviation Administration safety brief, followed by an Air Force safety brief which preserved different airspace issues unique to the area.”
After the briefings, the pilots were given a chance to come on base and see the military aircraft for themselves, along with a few test rounds in the C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker simulators.
“We took interested pilots out to the flightline to look at C-17 and KC-135 static displays and took some of them into the simulators to give them a chance to see what our job is like,” said Heffner. “The biggest thing this helps is making people more aware of where we fly, where the pinch-points are and making them more comfortable flying in the Quartz Mountain area. If they know who to talk to, then air traffic control can make traffic avoidance easier.”
Pinch-points are the high air traffic points in the area that civilian fliers are encouraged to avoid in order to facilitate base training. Due to the high importance of air safety, Heffner would like to do this kind of training regularly, building the connection with the community.
“Every six months they do a safety briefing for the civilian pilots out there and we’d like to participate in that,” said Heffner. “As far as statics and simulators go, we would like to do that again once a year.”