Staying safe in flight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 35th Fighter Wing safety office trains Airmen to prevent safety issues ranging from work place incidents to aviation mishaps, which provides pilots insight to the potential dangers they could face in flight.

“With mishap prevention being the goal, flight safety maintains and executes many installation plans and programs to cater to that objective,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacob Houder, the 35th Fighter Wing flight safety officer.

Programs that fall under the safety office’s purview include the Installation Emergency Management Plan, the Bird and Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard plan, Hazardous Air Traffic Reporting, High Accident Potential programs and the Midair Collision Avoidance program.

Flight safety not only offers a wide variety of programs but also tends to the care of Team Misawa members and Air Force assets by offering an abundance of important information that could save a life.

“A strong foundation of safety principles will ensure the preservation of our Airmen and resources,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Keith Wright, the 35th FW flight safety NCO. “Quarterly flying safety meetings can highlight trends not only throughout Misawa Air Base but the Air Force as a whole.”

Wright added there could be substantial negative impact to Air Force operations if safety were removed.

“If these discussions didn’t take place, aircrew would be less prepared for the day-to-day risks associated with local flying operations,” explained Wright. “Without a strong safety culture in place, our Airmen, joint partners and allies would all be affected.”

Since safety is recognized as an important component of Misawa’s mission, the ultimate goal is to keep Team Misawa members alive and thriving.

“Our mission is to protect U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific and defend Japan with sustained forward presence and focused support,” said Houder. “With the military profession being rooted in mission-driven risk, unnecessary risks or the improper management of that hazard degrades our effectiveness by reducing our force’s sustainability.”

This year marks 75 years of safety identifying flight risks, evaluating flight line supervision and examining flight operations.

“Together we need to focus on not only maintaining our current level of readiness but maintaining safety,” said Houder. “This career field protects the most important part of the U.S. Air Force: its people.”

While flight safety cares for pilots and aircrew members, occupational and weapons safety tends to personnel and munitions support. All three sections promote full compliance of guidelines and regulations for the protection of Air Force members.

[Editor’s note: This is part one of a three part series highlighting the 35th FW’s safety office.]