Precision system moving runways

by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of Team Osan’s 51st Operations Support Squadron and 51st Civil Engineer Squadron have been working together since mid-June to move an instrument landing system from the recently closed runway to the newly repaired runway.

“This is a team effort,” said Tech. Sgt. Paul Perez, 51st CES electrical planner. “Aside from OSS and CES, we also have the Regional Maintenance Center team out here from Yokota and a few surveyors. Everybody has their portion in this.”

The ILS enables aircraft to make precision landings when a pilot is unable to establish visual contact with the runway.

“There’s a high need for a precision approach especially here, given our location,” said Senior Master Sgt. Deangelo Lee, 51st OSS Air Traffic Control Airfield Landing Systems superintendent. “After going through many different options, it was easiest to just say, ‘Let’s take this system and move it to the outside runway.’ Between Pacific Air Forces, OSS and the Air Force Flight Standards Agency, we came to conclusion that it’d be easiest, most cost effective and the quickest option given the narrow time frame.”

Altogether, the teams were given about 40 days to complete the project.

“We’re kind of breaking new ground with what we’re doing here, especially with the time crunch we have,” said Lee. “There are mobile systems, but to take a fixed system, pick it up and move it to a different location is something that’s unprecedented.“

For this project, planning plays a key role in maximizing performance, minimizing cost and completing everything in such a limited time frame.

“We have to order materials because we don’t always have what we need on hand, so having a plan is one of the most important parts of this project,” said Perez. “The sooner we get those materials, the sooner we can actually put in the work.”

Despite these challenges, the team was able to stay on track and continually work towards relocating the system.

“I’m proud of my guys here,” said Lee. “They’re putting in a lot of work on top of our day-to-day operations. With the other airfields we maintain, this is a lot of undertaking for us.”

The project is slated for completion on August 1, ensuring safe landings despite inclement weather or runway visibility.

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