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NEWS | March 13, 2012

CCAA presents check to Airfield Management

By 2nd Lt. Jeff Craven 437th Operations Support Squadron

The 437th Airlift Wing's Airfield Management Flight at Joint Base Charleston received a check from the Charleston County Aviation Authority at JB Charleston - Air Base March 12. Sue Stevens, CCAA director of airports presented the check for landing fees accrued for 2011 to Col. Erik Hansen, 437th Airlift Wing commander and Col. Richard McComb, Joint Base Charleston commander.

Air Force regulations stipulate that civil aircraft pay landing fees at Air Force-owned airfields based upon the aircraft's maximum takeoff weight. This money is set aside to help maintain the runways by removing rubber buildup and painting the required runway markings. With a variety of civil and military aircraft landing each day, constant maintenance is required to keep the runways in good working order. This monetary exchange is just one of many cooperative events between airfield management and the CCAA.

Airfield Management, the Federal Aviation Authority and the CCAA, in partnership with the 628th Air Base Wing Civil Engineer Squadron and 628th Contracting Squadron, all play a significant role in the daily operations at JB Charleston - Air Base. These agencies work closely together to ensure safe and timely arrivals and departures for all aircrew in the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings as well as civilian aircraft carrying 2.5 million Charleston residents and visitors each year.

Airfield Management has evolved during the past 40 years to provide a safe and efficient airfield environment for aircraft operations. Airfield Management routinely inspects the airfield to ensure the runways, taxiways and parking areas are safe for maneuvering aircraft. Ensuring the airfield is free from obstructions, maintaining proper lighting for landing at night or in inclement weather and deterring wildlife on the active runways/taxiways are just a few of the many routine responsibilities.

In order to accomplish these duties safely on a daily basis, effective communication is needed between all agencies involved with the airfield. Airfield Management coordinates with the FAA control tower to enter the runways safely. Additionally, the control tower can request assistance from Airfield Management when there are birds or other wildlife on the airfield posing a threat to aircraft.

During the 2011 Air Expo, Airfield Management, the CCAA and the FAA demonstrated superb communication as they accepted the added challenge of continuous commercial operations during the event. This complex endeavor earned JB Charleston - Air Base the recognition as "Show-site of the Year" from the Air Force Thunderbirds.

This close relationship will be vital as the airport prepares for a major construction project. The primary runway for JB Charleston - Air Base will undergo an estimated 12-month construction period as runway concrete is replaced, ensuring safe employment for the next 50 years. The secondary runway will handle military and civilian aircraft operations during the construction. This construction project is estimated to bring $45 million to the community as well as employing more than 250 contractors and subcontractors.

Last year at JB Charleston - Air Base, there were 7,247 military missions carrying 42,021 tons of cargo and 23,780 military personnel. Additionally, five airlines conducted 20,664 arrivals and departures.