HomeNewsArticle Display

Air traffic control: Keeping the skies safe

Two men stare out a window.

Airman 1st Class Tanner Bohannan, left, 19th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control apprentice, and Senior Airman Jared Asher, 19th OSS air traffic control journeyman, watch a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft take flight at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Aug. 6, 2019. Air traffic controllers take care of maneuvering aircraft within the airspace and flight line to ensure all Airmen in the air and on the ground remain safe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)

A plane flies at sunset.

A C-130 Hercules aircraft takes flight as the sun sets at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Aug. 6, 2019. Air traffic controllers maneuver aircraft on the flightline and in the airspace 24-hours per day, seven days per week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) --

Little Rock Air Force Base sends out aircraft every day, supporting a variety of missions around the local area and across the globe. The 19th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controllers take care of maneuvering aircraft within Little Rock AFB airspace and the flightline to ensure all Airmen in the air and on the ground remain safe.

“Essentially we’re putting a puzzle together,” said Senior Airman Jared Asher, 19th OSS air traffic control journeyman. “With our ground traffic and the planes flying back to base, we have to work a puzzle. If the pilots listen and everything flows the way it’s supposed to, the puzzle comes together. There are times when there is generalized chaos and it causes the puzzle to get jumbled, but it’s our job to put it back together.”

Similar to other careers, on-the-job training for air traffic controllers is a must in order to ensure agile combat airlift is delivered anywhere and anytime. Airmen assigned to this unit learn alongside a fully qualified and experienced trainer, so there is no room for error when it comes to mission success.

“We monitor the newer Airmen closely, but when they’ve received certifications for the numerous positions, we let them work as though they are fully trained,” Asher said. “We sit back and watch unless we need to step in.”

While the trainees are learning, they move throughout three different positions: clearance and delivery, ground control and local. Each position has one goal in mind – ensuring aircraft stay a safe distance apart, whether they’re on the ground or in the air.

“I didn’t understand the importance of the job in technical school,” said Airman 1st Class Tanner Bohannan, 19th OSS air traffic control apprentice. “It was rewarding becoming operational and understanding our role within (Little Rock AFB): to bring aircrew home safely when they return from a mission.”

Luckily, the installation’s routine operational and training missions utilizes the same airframe – the C-130 Hercules. This means air-traffic rules and regulations do not differ much when guiding aircraft on Little Rock AFB.

“The mission aspect makes air traffic a lot easier because we only have one airframe, with similar missions,” Asher said. “Air traffic is an interesting job because every base does the same job and follows the same procedures, but it differs when it comes to the size of the airspace and type of aircraft being used.”

Combat airlift is a 24-hours per day, seven days per week mission. Air traffic controllers must stay ready to lead air traffic at all times. The high risk of guiding aircraft on a base comes with high reward.

“I wouldn’t trade any job for this one,” Asher said. “Receiving a short-notice call about a humanitarian mission and seeing the C-130 come back knowing our mission helped save people’s lives is why it’s all worth it.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @usairforce: “I’m a dental tech who became Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force...be dreamers – dream big.” - @CSMAF_Official #ReadyAF
Twitter
Join us for the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force transition ceremony LIVE from @Andrews_JBA TOMORROW at 9:30AM ED… https://t.co/ok6km7nFoS
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Teammates, Let me start with 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒌 𝒚𝒐𝒖. https://t.co/xU6U3QuZV7
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Engaging through listening sessions, senior leaders are hearing directly from #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals on diversi…
Twitter
RT @PACAF: JUST IN: Three #B2 Spirits from @Whiteman_AFB deployed to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia in support of #BTF missions. @IND
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The #Airmen at @Creech_AFB make a global impact 24/7. The RPAs they operate provide vital intelligence and strike capabi…
Twitter
"I'm confident that our Air Force can continue to be the most dominant and respected Air Force in the world." -… https://t.co/PZQzLUGBxz
Twitter
Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to @INGuardsman participate in close air support training. TACPs provide… https://t.co/BcyiAmfFmV
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: The @140Wg became the first ANG unit to successfully execute an agile combat employment exercise while at @Buckley_AFB. T…
Twitter
“I’m a dental tech who became Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force...be dreamers – dream big.” - @CSMAF_Officialhttps://t.co/AKSjyQNq4s
Twitter
A C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 317th Airlift Wing flies during a Joint Forcible Entry exercise at Dyess… https://t.co/t3VXu0ZYWj
Twitter
Pentagon staff applaud @cmsaf_official as he exits the Pentagon for the last time as Chief Master Sgt. of the Air… https://t.co/c9RXsc3lAO
Twitter
Join us for the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force transition ceremony LIVE from @Andrews_JBA on Aug 14 at 9:30AM E… https://t.co/GfPIHkx0zn
Twitter
An @EdwardsAFB B-52H Stratofortress completed a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Respon… https://t.co/HxxgE2In8C
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Just arrived to @NellisAFB to see RED FLAG, the #USAF Weapons School, and more. Because it has the best #Airmen and trai…
Twitter
“It’s no overstatement to say that brilliant ideas combined with trailblazing Airmen makes today’s Air Force the mo… https://t.co/qsDWN2Den5
Twitter
An F-22 Raptor aircraft assigned to the 3rd Wing approaches for landing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during R… https://t.co/EMKHnjC6p0
Twitter
A C-130H from the 302nd Airlift Wing, equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, flies over fires near… https://t.co/9BPVXNFual
Twitter
Roam Robotics developed a lightweight & inexpensive knee exoskeleton for applications in the health, military & rec… https://t.co/7klpyEaYG1
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: |RESOLUTE PARTNERSHIPS| On Aug. 6, 2020, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and @AirMobilityCmd units were called to action to p…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,266,691
Follow Us