By Bryan Rush
Special to GUIDON
We all try to get to and from work and other activities the fastest way possible. We plan the quickest routes with fewest roadblocks, detours, convoys or construction zones. We all want to get to where we are going without being delayed or late.
An updated safety procedure at Fort Leonard Wood’s unique airport may add just a couple of minutes to your commute as you conduct your business. Know that this is for the safety of aircraft and personnel here at Fort Leonard Wood.
Simply put, when aircraft fly over Iowa Avenue, vehicles will now need to stop at the traffic lights in front of the airport until the aircraft passes. This light will be operated by trained air traffic controllers and will take no more time than a standard traffic light.
Civilians and service members on the physical training track across from the runway are also strongly cautioned to avoid walking or running under aircraft when they are flying over Iowa Avenue.
These updated measures are to ensure a clear zone around the aircraft while it is in a critical phase of its flight. Landings and departures are considered critical phases of flight, which carry an increased risk of accidents and an increased level of demand on the pilot.
Federal rules in UFC 3-260-1, Airfield and Heliport Planning and Design, state “clear zones are areas on the ground at both ends of the runway that should be protected due to the high potential for accidents in these areas. This area extends 3,000 feet from the runway end and is 1,000 feet wide.”
This updated traffic light procedure will ensure aircraft and runways have their required protection. It also ensures that vehicles or pedestrians avoid the risk of being under the flight path of an aircraft during takeoff or landing.
This updated procedure will be implemented immediately to ensure the safe, orderly and prompt travel of aircraft and motor vehicles at Fort Leonard Wood.
(Editor’s note: Rush is an Alternate Air Traffic and Airspace officer for Air Traffic Control at Fort Leonard Wood’s Forney Army Airfield.)