Training, awareness needed to reduce Controlled Movement Area violations

  • Published
  • By Larry Ledford
  • Airfield manager, 412th Operations Support Squadron
Hazardous Air Traffic Report and Controlled Movement Area violations are a growing problem for both the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Unfortunately, Edwards is having its share of violations, which put lives as well as aircraft at risk. This year alone, Edwards has had four such violations, with three of those coming in recent months.

The Controlled Movement Area is any portion of the airfield requiring aircraft, vehicles and pedestrians to obtain specific Air Traffic Control approval for access. At Edwards, this area includes all runways, helipads and Rogers and Rosamond lakebeds.

A CMA incursion or a runway incursion occurs anytime an aircraft, vehicle, or pedestrian enters the Controlled Movement Area without specific approval from air traffic control. 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 AF Form 483 (Competency Card) will be stamped.

The penalties for airfield violations will result in the individual immediately losing his or her airfield driving privileges. The 412th 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 Edwards. 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. The Edwards airfield driving program instruction AFFTCI 13-213 is available on the Edwards intranet Web site. It lists the following penalties: first offense - 30 day suspension and re-training; second offense - 60-day suspension and re-training, and; third offense - permanent revocation of airfield driving privileges at Edwards. This may seem a little severe but think about the serious damage or possible loss of life that could be caused by an accident. Refresher annual training is required for all airfield drivers.

We've been lucky, no one has been killed and we are yet to have any aircraft damaged. 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. Either you know you have permission from the Control Tower to be in the Controlled Movement Area or you don't. If in doubt, ask. If you still have doubts, ask again. 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.

Feel free to call 277-2222 if you have any questions.

Things to remember when operating on the airfield, and specifically, the CMA:

1. Be Alert - aircraft have the right of way over all but emergency vehicles.
2. Use proper phraseology over the radio - do not use "Clear," "Cleared," "Clearing" or "Go Ahead" over the radio. Remember, the correct phraseology for the airfield is not the same as talking on a CB Radio!
3. Know where you are at all times - CMA incursions often occur because someone thought he or she was somewhere else on the airfield.
4. Ensure your credentials are up-to-date prior to proceeding onto the airfield (AF Form 1199, AF Form 483, vehicle passes, etc.). A large red and white sign is posted on the right side of the gate entering the airfield that identifies the proper credentials.
5. Know, don't guess, who the tower is talking to. Do not assume you have been granted permission to proceed. If in doubt, ask the tower.

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.

Let's work as a team and make the Air Force Flight Test Center a safe and enjoyable place to work.