Safety first concern running SAFB

Safety first concern running SAFB

WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Sheppard Air Force Base keeps everyone safe thanks to the help of a few teams on base.

“It might not seem like much but when we get aircraft coming in here bumping, you can get a lot of moving pieces in a small place,” Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hawk said.

Running the largest Air Force training center takes teams coming together to make sure everything goes to plan...

From the tower, to equipment maintenance, safety is key.

“Safety is our number one priority as air-traffic controllers,” Hawk said.

"Our biggest motive is make sure those guys go up safe and come down as safely as possible,″ Senior Airman Christopher Jackson said.

That doesn’t just happen overnight, every day work is done.

With hundreds of takeoffs each day if one thing goes wrong, everything can fall apart.

“You want to make sure you do everything in your power to make sure their gear is 100 percent correct,” Jackson said.

If a problem gets to the aircraft on the runway, the equipment management team quickly reacts.

“Not having everything 100% correct they’ll call us it’s called a red ball emergency maintenance comes and picks us up and we go right out to the jet we get it fixed maybe five minutes at the most and you’re ready to fly," Jackson said. “Usually it’s something minor it’s never like a major malfunction, if it is we have those guys come back in. We want to be as safe as possible.”

It’s not all on the equipment team, with the tower team needing to watch conditions around them, deciding if it’s safe for flight or not.

“The big thing about the tower team concept is we are a team there is no real division of responsibility or separation of it, we work as a team to accomplish the mission,” Hawk said.

They make sure the planes go up safely, or else they don’t go up at all.

“We will not sacrifice safety for efficiency or to get as many planes in the air as possible," he said. "That’s not what we’re here for.”

While training allows for mistakes, these crews have lives in their hands.

Mistakes aren’t options.

“With everything starting with us we have to make sure we’re spot on every time, they say practice makes perfect but we have to be perfect before practice,” Jackson said.

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