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Not Your Average Landing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steven M. Adkins
  • 8 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- “This was the first time in my 18 years of service I’ve ever seen an aircraft land on a fully prepared alternate landing surface (ALS),” said Lt. Col. Steven Vick, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.

The 8th CES, along with other agencies, conducted an ALS training at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, on Jan. 27. 

An Expeditionary Airfield Lighting System (EALS) was installed along the landing surface, said Master Sgt. Andrew Dye, 8th CES Electrical Systems section chief. 

EALS is a rapidly installed runway system that is designed for contingency airfields and other locations that require temporary lighting.

Over the course of six hours, the team laid out a total of 9,700 feet of cable and over 100 FAA approved lighting devices across the 8,300 by 75-foot landing surface. 

“Establishing a full 8,000-foot ALS with EALS, Mobile Aircraft Arresting System (MAAS), Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI), and Distance-to-Go Markers - and then actually landing an aircraft on it - is exceedingly rare,” Vick added.

Initiating, activating, and landing on the ALS required significant contributions from several functional areas across Kunsan, to include Airfield Operations, Security Forces, Power Production, Electrical Infrastructure, Engineering Assistants, Heavy Equipment Operations, and more. 

“It was inspiring to see all the CE operations crafts come together and witness the aircraft land,” said Dye. “All of the meetings and coordination from around the base helped make the mission possible to showcase what we can do here at Kunsan.” 

Readiness is a key to air power, and maintaining that readiness is what is something the Airmen of Kunsan continue to practice day in and day out.
“This training unequivocally demonstrated our ability to establish and operate from an alternate landing surface, which is a key component of airbase resiliency,” Vick said. “The Red Devils and the Wolf Pack are more ready than ever to execute our mission under the toughest of circumstances.”