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NEWS | April 25, 2024

MACA: Keeping pilots safe and sound

By Senior Airman Matt Porter Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The “CanDo” wing hosted the Mid-Air Collision Avoidance event at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, April 20, 2024. This event served as a rare opportunity for local pilots to fly directly onto the McGuire Air Force Base flight line, where they were treated to a tour and an educational safety briefing.

Due to its location, JB MDL is in one of the busiest air traffic corridors in the world. More than 50 civil airports are located within 100 miles of the installation, which, combined, generate more than 5,000 movements per day. JB MDL alone adds as many as 100 additional movements to that sum.

"Due to our operational security requirements, military aircraft will often operate in a manner that renders us invisible to civilian traffic, unless they are in contact with Air Traffic Control," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Tyler Glover, 305th Air Mobility Wing pilot. "One of the goals of the MACA program is to encourage our civilian flying counterparts to always be in contact with whatever ATC sector they are in, so they can maintain situational awareness of military aircraft operating in the area."

Civilian pilots who attended the event were treated to a tour of JB MDL aviation centerpieces such as the ATC, the McGuire AFB flight line and the operations center. Various static displays of aircraft commonly employed by the "Win as One" mission were available for viewing.

"I think we all enjoy spreading the word about our MACA program because it is such a vital part of our safety endeavors," Glover said. "Apart from that, I think we all just enjoy having conversations with people from the community. General aviation flying and military flying can be very different in many aspects, but flying in general is still the same, so it's a lot of fun to talk to these folks about their backgrounds."

Filling up just hours after its initial advertisement, the popular event proved educational for all parties involved.

"There are a lot of small differences between the way we operate in the military flying world and the way they operate in civilian general aviation," Glover said. "Hearing about some of their common operating practices provides us with a wealth of knowledge about how we can continue to ensure that our local airspace remains as safe as possible."