35th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen ensure F-16 pilots safety

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melanie Hutto
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Six 35th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) technicians from Misawa Air Base, Japan, forward deployed the mobile aircraft arresting system (MAAS) in support of Cope West 19 at the Sam Ratulangi International Airport, Manado, Indonesia, June 17, 2019.

The MAAS is a contingency airfield asset designed to ensure U.S. pilots safely come to a stop in the event of an in-flight emergency (IFE) and is required whenever the F-16 Fighting Falcons travel to a location that doesn’t have a permanent aircraft arresting system.

“The MAAS took us three days to setup,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. DeMarco Poole, a 35th CES electrical system craftsman from Misawa Air Base, Japan. “Once installed, the system has to be certified to make sure it works properly, and to make sure it can handle the aircraft engagements.”

The system includes a cable that stretches across the runway secured on each edge by two separate units. In case of an IFE upon take-off or landing a tailhook drops from the body of the plane so it can snag the cable, which uses controlled friction to pull the plane to a stop in as little as 300-400 feet. The cable attaches on each end to cargo straps that wind and unwind onto large spools.

Poole continued saying the benefits of having it, outweigh the catastrophic event that could occur without it.

Due to the exercise taking place at a civilian airport, the Airmen had to setup and remove the cable from the runway after each sortie to allow non-military aircraft to land without delay.

“Flying operations for Cope West 19 wouldn’t have happened without the successful installation of the MAAS,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jared Morris, a 14th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot. “This would not have been possible without the technical expertise of the MAAS team, coordination between the air traffic controllers and all the Airmen who stepped up to help.”

Cope West is a two week Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, bilateral exercise designed to advance interoperability and build upon already established partnerships between U.S. and Indonesian military forces. The exercise affords both countries the opportunity to exchange techniques in aircraft generation, recovery, close air support and air-to-air fighter training.