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.