Airfield Management: "my airfield, my domain"

  • Published
  • By Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing
It is 7 a.m. and for the next 10 minutes an Airman will be updating the airfield status and taking accountability for any radios, books, maps, or other sources the pilots need to complete their flight plan. He does all of this to ensure that all flights and the airfield are safe.

The 97th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management flight plays an important role in Altus Air Force Base. It ensures the safety of all aircraft and personnel who work on the airfield.

"Our mission is to ensure safety for all flights," said Mr. Anthony Bunch, 97th OSS airfield manager.

As Bunch jokingly referred to himself as the "landlord of the airfield," he ensures that his Airmen are trained to make quick and important decisions. Pilots contact airfield management about cases ranging from changing their route to responding to in-flight emergencies. Airfield management then takes the appropriate precautions for each issue.

Pilots in training cannot fly without filing a flight plan, which airfield management has to approve, said Staff Sgt. Bradley Buckner, 97th OSS NCO in charge of airfield management training. Flight plans include the type of aircraft, the route of flight, and their expected departure and arrival times.

"We have a broad responsibility on the airfield," Bunch said.

Airfield management's responsibilities include providing support, being able to resume operations after emergency situations, and managing the Airfield Driving Program.

"The Airfield Driving Program has classroom training to ensure that people are educated and are adhering to all airfield driving rules," said Bunch.

After passing the test, Airmen receive competency cards. When airfield management conducts inspections on the airfield, they ensure that drivers on the airfield have updated competency cards with them.

Airfield management conducts many different inspections on the airfield every day.

One of the inspections the Airmen have to conduct is a light inspection. When performing a light inspection, they communicate with the Air Traffic Control Tower and ensure lights on the runway are not burned out and are visible to the pilots in the air.

Before the airfield is shut down at night, Airfield Management has to record traffic count, in-bound and out-bound flights and record how many inspections were made throughout the day, said Senior Airman Tory Howard, 97th OSS airfield management shift lead.

Safety is airfield management's priority and they live by their motto: "Airfield Management: my airfield, my domain."