NTTR/RSS certifies arresting system

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class James Thompson
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing

The Nellis Testing and Training Range Support Squadron completed a certification engagement of the Barrier Arresting Kit (BAK)-12 aircraft arresting system on the airfield runway Nov. 15, 2016, at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

The purpose of the system is to provide a way for pilots in the surrounding airspace to safely land in the event of an aircraft malfunction or other emergency circumstances, said Kelsey, powered support systems technician with the NTTR/RSS.

“The system in place at Creech is a BAK-12 energy absorber with a BAK-14 retractable hook cable system,” said Richard, powered support systems supervisor with the NTTR/RSS. “We also have a redundancy system, called an E-5, just in case the aircraft misses the first cable.”

The Creech airfield serves as an auxiliary field for the Nevada Testing and Training Range. The airfield not only supports Creech’s remotely piloted aircraft mission, but also a variety of operations in the local area.

“Without us [airfield operations] being here, I don’t know how many aircraft we would have lost,” said Donald, airfield manager with Pacific Architect and Engineering.

When asked about what it takes to support the certification process, Donald said, “One cannot do without the other, there’s no doubt about it. It takes the tower, base operations, weather, fire and rescue, barrier support and more.”

He went on to explain that it is the family concept that made the certification engagement and everyday operations fluid.

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from Nellis Air Force Base also flew to Creech Air Force Base to conduct the annual barrier engagement on the arresting system.

According to barrier maintenance technicians, the aircraft utilizes its tail hook to catch the 1.25-inch diameter pendant cable that is held two inches above the runway surface by the BAK-14M cable support system.  The pendant cable is connected to an 8.5-inch wide nylon purchase tape that is attached to the BAK-12’s 66-inch diameter reel.

As the aircraft travels down the runway, it pulls the tape off the reel which slowly increases the system’s hydraulic pressure. This gradual increase in hydraulic pressure is what brings the aircraft to a safe and controlled stop.

“The cable support system and energy absorber worked as expected, with an excellent result,” said Kelsey. “The process went smoothly because of Power Pro’s stringent inspection schedule. So our part is mainly done before an engagement ever happens.”

The BAK-12 Aircraft Arresting System is capable of stopping a 50,000 pound aircraft at 180 knots within the system’s 1200-foot run out length.

“Since Creech acts as the auxiliary airfield for NTTR and surrounding military air strips, we need to keep our barrier systems ready and up to date on maintenance, inspections, and certifications at all times,” Kelsey said. “This ensures all tail-hook equipped Air Force, Navy and Marine fighter aircraft can safely land during an emergency, saving aircraft and more importantly our pilot’s lives.”