MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Even though B-52H Stratofortresses regularly takeoff at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, there are many checks and balances done to ensure a smooth departure.
Airfield managers are responsible for various aspects of airfield operations to assure that all takeoffs and landings occur without incident.
“We are in charge of airfield safety, filing flight plans and maintaining the airfield at all times,” said Staff Sgt. Logan Winter, 5th Operations Support Squadron airfield management operations noncommissioned officer in charge.
Although it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the flight line free of debris, these Airmen are the primary eyes on the flight line and must be prepared to address anything on the airfield that may need to be fixed prior to a B-52 taking off.
“During normal operations, we go out to inspect the flight line every two hours,” said Winter. “When we have snow, we could be out there all day for traction control readings.”
Attached to their vehicle, there is a piece of equipment that takes traction control readings. In the past, they had to speed up and abruptly slow down to verify the flight line traction was in a good state, said Winter.
Having good equipment can make operations run smoother, but no matter the amount of equipment, these Airmen must have a strong attention to detail when examining the airfield, Winter continued.
Airfield management is essential to operations by ensuring everything on the airfield is safe for our Airmen in the skies.
“In order for a plane to take off, they need us here,” said Winter.