JBMDL Airmen brief general aviation pilots on safety

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christina Wiskowski

The 514th Air Mobility Wing organized an informational session with local civilian pilots over the July Unit Training Assembly to discuss safety concerns in Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst's airspace.

Lt. Col. Michael A. Attebury, a C-17 pilot with the 732nd Airlift Squadron, 514 AMW, met with members of the Monmouth Area Flying Club in Lakewood, New Jersey, to discuss safety best practices and how to avoid mid-air collisions. Attebury was joined by Senior Airman Rebecca A. Paldino, Tech. Sgt. Joseph D. Cooper, and Master Sgt. Andrew S. Kilbride from our active-duty counterparts at the 305th Operations Support Squadron.

The civilian pilots were briefed on a variety of topics related to JB MDL flying operations and Air Traffic Control communications, including visual representations of the airspace and typical flight patterns.

“We’re here today to ensure you understand how we operate within the local airspace, what we can and can’t see while we’re flying, and how to best communicate your plans with us,” Attebury said.

As an experienced military, commercial, and general aviation pilot, Attebury was able to provide a broad and informed perspective on flying operations in the region, which is the busiest and most complex airspace in the Department of Defense.

“Good communication is the key to ensuring we can all operate in this space safely,” Attebury said. “The more we, the military, interact with the general aviation community on the ground, the more confident they’ll be in communicating with us up in the air.”

According to Kilbride, chief controller in radar approach control, the JBMDL Mid-air Collision avoidance program is one of the busiest he’s seen.

“Most bases typically conduct 3-4 MACA briefings annually, but with so many airports and flying clubs in the local area, JBMDL’s program could conduct as many as 12 annual briefings,” Kilbride said.

MACA is a United States Air Force program through which flying units and air traffic controllers brief the local general aviation community on military aviation operations and relevant flying safety topics. At JBMDL, the MACA program is run by the 514th AMW Safety Office and supported by the 305th OSS.

MAFC Club President, Joe Bonacci, said regular briefings like this help their pilots have a greater understanding of the environment they’re operating in.

“We’re so grateful to have you all come here and speak with us,” Bonacci said. “These conversations are invaluable to our pilots.”

The MAFC is a civilian flying organization, operating out of the Lakewood Township Municipal Airport. MAFC was founded in 1985 and currently has 170 members and six aircraft.