Military News

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MACA Fly-in seminar stresses air safety in aviation capital

by Airman 1st Class Tara Fadenrecht
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/20/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The 22nd Air Refueling Wing flight safety office welcomed approximately 100 attendees, including more than 35 participants who arrived on base via non-military aircraft to the Midair Collision Avoidance Fly-in seminar Oct. 17, here.

There are more than 70 airfields within 75 miles of base, and McConnell aircraft have recently experienced several hazardous air traffic reports, including one in which two aircraft came within one nautical mile and 500 feet of each other, requiring KC-135 Stratotanker pilots to suddenly divert from their air traffic control issued flight path.

"It's important for us to work with our partners throughout the Wichita area," said Maj. John Stock, 22nd ARW flight safety chief. "Midair collisions can cost more than just the money it would take to repair a damaged aircraft; lives are at stake, both of the crew and the people on the ground below them."

The event welcomed approximately 100 attendees, including more than 35 participants who arrived on base via aircraft.

Speakers representing various agencies including the base flight safety office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard program, spoke to attendees regarding aviation safety in an effort to keep everyone in the sky safe.

"I think [the MACA seminar] was important," said Barry Coates, FAA air traffic control specialist. "It's good to get the military and the general aviation [community] together. It's nice that they can get together, talk to each other and figure out what's working for one and not the other and maybe get some dialogue for better ideas as to what they can do to make things safer."

After the seminar, participants were given a closer look at a KC-135 Stratotanker. Attendees walked through the static display and were able to sit in the pilot's seat and go down in the boom pod to end the eventful day.

"The goal for the MACA was to spread the word on midair collision avoidance," Stock said. "We want to try and be proactive in preventing any near midair collisions, and we did that today."

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