Team McChord makes annual Moses Lake visit

Laurence Schafer, USDA wildlife biologist with the bird and wildlife aircraft strike hazards (BASH) at McChord Field, holds a Red Tailed Hawk caught on the McChord Field flight line the previous day, during a lesson for Big Bend Community College pilot students about the way different types of birds interact with planes, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. Red Tailed Hawks, along with several other species of bird, are trapped on the flight line and relocated to prevent them being hit by planes.

Laurence Schafer, USDA wildlife biologist with the bird and wildlife aircraft strike hazards (BASH) at McChord Field, holds a Red Tailed Hawk caught on the McChord Field flight line the previous day, during a lesson for Big Bend Community College pilot students about the way different types of birds interact with planes, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. Red Tailed Hawks, along with several other species of bird, are trapped on the flight line and relocated to prevent them being hit by planes.

McChord field Airmen walk off of a C-17, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. The Airmen were there to give briefings and perform safety inspections.

McChord field Airmen walk off of a C-17, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. The Airmen were there to give briefings and perform safety inspections.

Staff Sgt. Tim Burnett, 62nd Medical Squadron, bioenvironmental engineer, uses a sound level meter to determine the noise level that a portable vacuum makes, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. Machines loud enough to cause hearing damage were labeled with a sticker reminding users to wear ear protection.

Staff Sgt. Tim Burnett, 62nd Medical Squadron, bioenvironmental engineer, uses a sound level meter to determine the noise level that a portable vacuum makes, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. Machines loud enough to cause hearing damage were labeled with a sticker reminding users to wear ear protection.

Staff Sgt. Jerry-Lee Calalang, 62nd Medical Squadron, Occupational Health NCOIC, fills out a health and safety inspection form, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. Inspections are performed annually to ensure that facilities and practices remain safe.

Staff Sgt. Jerry-Lee Calalang, 62nd Medical Squadron, Occupational Health NCOIC, fills out a health and safety inspection form, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. Inspections are performed annually to ensure that facilities and practices remain safe.

Capt. Catherine Tetrick, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot teaches Big Bend Community College pilot students about safe flying practices around military aircraft, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. The pilot students often fly in the same airspace as C-17s and other military aircraft.

Capt. Catherine Tetrick, 7th Airlift Squadron pilot teaches Big Bend Community College pilot students about safe flying practices around military aircraft, March 16, 2018, at Moses Lake, Wash. The pilot students often fly in the same airspace as C-17s and other military aircraft.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

McChord field members went to Moses Lake, McChord Field’s primary auxiliary field for local training sorties, for an annual visit March 16.

The annual visit includes inspections by occupational safety, public health, bioenvironmental, and flight safety, and briefings from flight safety and the United States Department of Agriculture for pilot students and local fire department.

“Awareness of our operations serves to reduce the chances of midair collisions, promotes understanding of the “why” behind what we are doing, and is a public relations opportunity for the Air Force,” said Capt. Caroline Tetrick, 62nd Airlift Wing flight safety officer.

The Big Bend Community College based in Moses Lake has an aviation course with new students every year. Each new class is briefed on midair collision avoidance.

“These student pilots are inexperienced and sometimes flying solo around the Moses Lake area,” said Tetrick. “They fly slow but maneuverable light aircraft that can be hard for C-17 pilots to pick out visually, especially when executing complex profiles in busy airspace.”

Student pilots have the opportunity to see a C-17 up close. This gives them a better frame of reference when they’re flying near a C-17.

“Seeing the sheer size of the aircraft firsthand provides distance perspective for when they see us in the air,” said Tetrick. “By showing and talking to them about our cockpit with our numerous displays, computers, instruments and head-up display (HUD), the students better understand our perspective as military pilots.”

By keeping open communication and a regular presence in the area, Team McChord is ensuring that everyone, civilians and military members alike, can safely share Washington’s airspace.