Running the flightline

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- A job starting off in the office with phone calls, planning, scheduling, meetings and Airmen needing guidance, can quickly turn into a job involving being out on the vast flightline inspecting every square inch for any hazards, or having to handle an aircraft disaster.

Senior Master Sgt. Robert T. Dickey has been in the Air Force for 19 years. He came in as an airman basic and has been in the same career field ever since--airfield management. Currently the airfield manager with the 366th Operations Support Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, he knows what it takes to run an airfield efficiently.

Airfield management is responsible for overseeing and carrying out many tasks. The personnel of airfield management take care of flight planning for base assigned aircraft, scheduling arrivals and departures of transient aircraft as well as multiple daily checks for any hazards, debris, or objects that could cause damage--also known as FOD checks..

They check for navigational aid outages, lighting issues, and any other safety hazards to the aircrew. During the FOD checks, the entire airfield is checked for any markings or damage to the pavement along with anything else that could be an obstruction to aircraft and the aircrew, or have a negative effect on flight operations.

Their role in the Gunfighter Skies 2014 open house was an essential factor in making the event happen.

Dickey said they started planning for the open house three months ahead of time to get everything laid out.

They worked with the 366th Civil Engineering Squadron and Transient Alert Services to come up with a layout accommodating everybody involved in the open house. The layout allowed them coordination with maintenance for the base and transient aircraft. They also coordinated for the setup of all the vendor tents.

Dickey stated, "Everything that was a part of the open house or on the airfield, we helped coordinate."

One of the other things they handle is the airfield drivers program for the base.
Airman 1st Class Krystal Meza, an airfield management operations coordinator with the 366th OSS stated, "It's my job to ensure the safety of the aircraft, which means ensuring personnel driving have the proper information and training."

"One of our primary goals was to facilitate safe operations out there and make sure people are trained to do what they need to do," said Dickey.

Once the open house was in motion, those in airfield management were responsible for acting as first responders to any type of in-flight or ground emergencies. They are responsible for sending out information to the aircrews and to work with air traffic controllers.

Airfield management was on the primary crash net, being one of the first to be contacted along with the medical and fire department personnel. They are tasked with notifying the secondary crash net of any emergencies during the show.

Dickey said, "Being involved and having such an impact on the safety of flight operations is what I really like about my job."

After the open house ended, they were in charge of helping any aircraft that needed maintenance support and making sure all aircraft departed safely.

"If we weren't out there doing our jobs a lot of accidents could've happened," stated Dickey.

A wing-wide FOD walk Sept. 22, was also coordinated by them. The FOD walk helps ensure the airfield is back in order and able to re-open after an inspection performed by the FOD manager. Getting everybody involved allowed the process to be completed in a more timely manner.

"Our primary goal is to make sure we run a safe and efficient airfield," said Dickey.

After the opening inspection, airfield management will be able to return to their normal routine.

"Safely putting aircraft in the air is a major part of the Air Force mission, I love having a job that has such a direct impact and important role in that mission," said Dickey.