Midair Collision Avoidance Program decreases aircraft accidents

  • Published
  • By Capt Chris Grosjean
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
Vance Air Force Base is one of the Air Force's busiest airports with over 500,000 takeoffs and landings logged each year.
The military airspace surrounding Vance AFB extends approximately 50 miles north, 30 miles east and south, and 90 miles west of the base.
Additionally, Vance AFB training is conducted at many nearby airfields such as Tulsa, Okla.; Wichita, Kan.; Amarillo, Texas and Oklahoma City. During day-to-day operations while conducting student training in military jet aircraft, Team Vance pilots find themselves intermingled with civilian aircraft operating from small airports in northwest Oklahoma and southern Kansas as well as commercial airline traffic flying near Vance AFB airspace. So what does Team Vance do to help keep military and civilian pilots from running into each other?
The Midair Collision Avoidance Program administered locally by the 71st Flying Training Wing Safety Office is designed to educate general and commercial aviation pilots on the spectrum of military operations surrounding Vance AFB. Throughout the year, the wing MACA representative visits numerous area airports to educate local pilots and distribute information detailing the busy training conducted in the local airspace. For many civilian pilots, this informational presentation is a real eye-opener. While civilian pilots are not restricted from flying through military airspace, many are not fully aware of the volume of student training and subsequent saturated airspace. The MACA program lends perspective to assist civilian pilots in making informed decisions about flying around or under our military operating areas rather than through them, thus reducing the chances of a disastrous mid-air conflict.
In addition to educating local pilots about Vance AFB operations, the MACA program sponsors a civilian fly-in once a year. During the fly-in, civilian pilots are allowed to fly their private aircraft into Vance AFB and get first-hand experience on how our airfield operates. These civilian pilots are treated to a pancake breakfast, static displays of Team Vance's aircraft, simulator rides, base tours and informational briefings. The annual fly-in program has been highly successful and is very well received by the local community.
By continuing to spread the word about military operations, the MACA Program assists air traffic control and other agencies in maintaining Team Vance's current outstanding safety record of no midair collisions. Let's keep up the good work!