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305th AMW raises awareness for airspace safety

  • Published
  • By Airman Simonne Barker Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The 305th Air Mobility Wing Safety Office is resuming the lead on airspace safety for the joint base through the Mid-Air Collision Avoidance Program.

The MACA program ensures the aviation community here in the Northeast is aware of the local hazards while minimizing potential risks posed by joint base flight operations. Due to ever-increasing general aviation traffic and an accumulation of military aircraft in training, the team is targeting outreach opportunities to raise awareness of the JB MDL aviation mission and be prudent partners in the local airspace.

Most recently the team met with pilots at Northeast Philadelphia airport on Aug. 8.

“Our overarching goal of the program is to collaborate with all who fly in our airspace,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Paul Stoshak, the 305th AMW Wing Flight Safety superintendent. “We want a free flow of information between military and general aviation community, to actively support hazardous air traffic report program and educate the public on the appropriate configurations, speeds and altitudes of routine military operations.”

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, located in Central New Jersey, is in the middle of one of the busiest air traffic passageways in the nation, the Boston/Washington corridor, servicing thousands of general aviation aircraft while also being in the middle of military training grounds. There were more than 17,000 aircraft handled by JB MDL air traffic controllers in July 2021, making the NJ airspace one of the busiest in the nation, according to Stoshak.

Communication between all aviation communities is crucial to ensure restricted airspace isn’t violated resulting in increased risk and danger for the pilots and passengers onboard. That’s why the team is focused on reaching out to local airports and teaming with the Federal Aviation Administration to inform the local aviation communities.

“We always recommend when operating near a military airfield to be in contact with our Air Traffic Controllers,” Stoshak said. “Operational requirements for military aircraft can require airborne communication tactics, techniques and procedures that are unfamiliar to civilian aircraft.”

Crossing paths with military aircraft isn’t the only hazard to civilian pilots, according to Stoshak. The ranges enable training that can send artillery and mortars up to 8,000 feet in the air, which could hit an aircraft if a pilot is unaware of the restricted airspace.

“Our focus here in the 305th AMW Safety Office, is ensuring a strong partnership for everyone that shares these Northeast skies. Whether in a brand new KC-46 practicing combat arrival procedures, a Cessna 152 learning how to conduct a takeoff, or a radar controller directing the flow of aircraft, once airborne we’re all responsible for keeping each other safe,” said U.S. Air Force Lt Col. Joshua Crockett, the 305th AMW Wing Flight Safety Chief. “In my experience, the more we can learn about each other on the ground, the better we’ll be in the air and that’s the greatest benefit of our program, it’s understanding how to take care of each other as fellow aviators.”

Stoshak and Crockett realize that mistakes happen, but contacting McGuire Approach on 126.47 MHz for traffic advisories and additional information will help avoid these issues from happening.

“Aviate, navigate, communicate is a popular mantra among pilots,” Stoshak said. “Our ATC controllers are some of the friendliest and most professional in the business, and they can be a vital tool in a pilot’s crew resource management toolbox. Do not hesitate to utilize the services they provide and reach out to them if flying in the local area.”

For more information, visit the Joint Base MDL MACA webpage or call 305th AMW Flight Safety at (609)754-6852.