Awareness of the CMA prevents violations

  • Published
  • By Dudley Cruse
  • 81st Training Wing flight safety manager
Hazardous air traffic report and controlled movement area violations are a growing problem for both the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Unfortunately, Keesler is having its share of violations, which put lives as well as aircraft at risk. In 2013 so far, Keesler has had two violations and two potential violations, with two of those incidents happening within the past two months.

The CMA is any portion of the airfield requiring aircraft, vehicles and pedestrians to obtain specific air traffic control approval for access. One main area of concern is where the I-81 running track runs around Ploesti Drive on the north end of the runway near the bay area. The running track is literally just feet from the end of the runway. Runners, joggers or walkers need to realize they cannot deviate from the track. They are very close to the CMA.

Another area of concern is when pedestrians coming from Pass Road to the Triangle area walk across the golf course, and before they realize it they are committing a CMA violation or runway incursion.

A CMA incursion or a runway incursion occurs anytime an aircraft, vehicle or pedestrian enters the CMA without specific approval from air traffic control. The Air Force has directed that those working in a CMA undergo additional training. Also, additional testing is required on the airfield layout and the necessary phraseology to use when talking to the tower. When someone completes the training and is granted access to the controlled area, that person's Air Force Form 483 Certificate of Competency will be stamped.

The penalties for airfield violations will result in the individual immediately losing his or her airfield driving privileges. The 81st Operation Support Squadron commander is responsible for vehicle operations on the airfield. Each unit commander, director, division chief and contract manager is responsible for ensuring that the absolute minimum number of drivers is authorized to drive on the airfield to accomplish the unit's mission.

Penalties for CMA violations depend on the number of offenses the individual has had at Keesler. However, the Air Force in currently working on developing a force-wide database where driver records will be tracked from one base to another, whether the driver is military or civilian. In the Keesler airfield driving instruction is a list of the following penalties:

First offense: Mandatory 30-day suspension of airfield driving privileges.

Second offense: Mandatory 180-day suspension of airfield driving privileges.

Third offense: Mandatory permanent revocation of airfield driving privileges if violation occurs within a 24-month period of the previous two offenses for all airfield drivers.

We've been lucky that no one has been injured or killed, and we have not experienced any aircraft damaged. But being lucky isn't good enough, because at some point our luck will run out. It's not a matter of if, but when.

Assumptions have no place within the movement area. Ensure you have permission from the control tower to be in the CMA. If in doubt, ask. Airfield management is always available to assist you if you need help or just plain don't know where you are on the airfield. If you are on a large piece of concrete or asphalt that is wider than a normal road, you probably shouldn't be there.

Be safe when operating within the CMA. Know your procedures, your location, and your surroundings. Reducing the number of CMA violations and incursions is a prime focus, but more importantly, we'd like to see everyone back at work tomorrow.