Airfield Airmen ‘arrest’ Aircraft

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base, rests after hooking onto the aircraft arresting system at Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 28. Ramstein is annually certified on aircraft arresting systems in the event other bases may need to use them.

The 786th Civil Engineer Squadron boosted its readiness with Armed Forces personnel from NATO partners Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in an annual conference on Ramstein Air Base from Nov. 4 through 8.

The partnership allowed all parties to learn from each other about the aircraft arresting system process.

The aircraft arresting system ensures fighter aircraft, or any aircraft equipped with a tailhook, come to a complete stop if a pilot is unable to land the aircraft safely on his own. The Ramstein aircraft arresting system received its annual certification on Oct. 30.

Members of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian armed forces wait for further instructions at Ramstein Air Base, Nov. 6. Members of the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron partnered with NATO countries Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from Nov. 4-8, learning about each other’s processes for maintaining the aircraft arresting gear.

While Ramstein doesn’t normally use the system, because of its airlift mission it is a common stopping point for a variety of aircraft which transit through. Transient aircraft are allowed to use Ramstein in the event that they cannot land at their home base.

The certification further strengthens Ramstein’s partnerships with other bases.

“It shows that we are capable of working together,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jhazzen Singleton, 786th CES noncommissioned officer in charge of aircraft arresting systems. “We partner with them to accomplish the goals of not just a single base, but a larger Air Force.”

The partnership with Baltic countries is the first time Singleton has worked with other nation’s power production technicians.

“It shows that we work on some of the same systems,” Singleton said.

In contrast, some of the original prototype systems the U.S. uses are now employed operationally by NATO partners in real-world scenarios.

“Our jobs are driven by procedures and AFIs,” Singleton said. “We all get to an end goal, but they may do something a little bit differently than we do to get to that common end goal.”

The interaction allowed participating countries’ personnel to share and learn from each other.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Marquis Brown, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron power production technician, works with Lithuanian air force Pvt. 3rd Class Aurimas Kantauskas, aircraft arresting system technician, on an aircraft arresting system engine at Ramstein Air Base, Nov. 7. The aircraft arresting system is a mechanism designed to stop airplanes in the event pilots cannot stop them on their own.

“You always get something new,” said Lithuanian air force Pvt. 3rd Class Aurimas Kantauskas, aircraft arresting system technician.

“The partnership was also beneficial because both of them now have knowledge of how the other countries’ aircraft arresting systems work, making relations between them easier in the future,” Latvia air force Sgt. 1st Class Kaspars Jansons, power production technician, explained.

But the crossfeed of experiences and methods to overcome challenges doesn’t end. The participants now have an extended network of people to collaborate from.

Members of the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron walk back to their cars after finishing runway maintenance at Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 28. Making sure the aircraft arresting system is ready at any moment is a daily job for power production technicians.

“If they were having problems, they can email us,” Singleton said. “Likewise, I’m going to email them. Then maybe they know how to fix it, and same for them.”

Likewise, I’m going to email them. Then maybe they know how to fix it, and same for them.”