53rd ATCS certifies local airport for C-130 aircraft operations

  • Published
  • By Joseph Mather
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 53rd Air Traffic Control Squadron with the 461st Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, has certified the Municipal Airport in Perry, Georgia, for C-130 aircraft operations.

Members from the 53rd ATCS, 621st Contingency Response Group at Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the 700th Air Lift Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, participated in a two-year long certification that was accomplished June 23, 2022.

The mission of the 53rd ATCS, is to provide Combatant Commanders with short notice, scalable contingency airfield operations capabilities across the full spectrum of military operations.

“We are the only active duty squadron of its kind,” said Maj. Duane Reid, 53rd ATCS director of operations. “We provide deployable air traffic control and landing systems, landing zone safety officers and personnel to support airfield operations during peacetime, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief and contingency operations.”

Staff Sgt. Logan Pilawski, 53rd ATCS landing zone safety officer, said the project was years in the making.

“The 621st CRG completed an airfield survey at the Perry Airport in September 2020,” said Pilawski. “The survey concluded that the runway was of sufficient criteria for a C-130 aircraft to safely land and depart.”

Even though the runway was suitable for the aircraft weight. the taxiways were not.

“The taxiways were unusable due to culverts running under them, which limited the surface’s weight bearing capacity,” said Pilawski. “Since the survey completion, the Perry Airport has completely resurfaced their runway.

“They have also eliminated the drainage culverts at several key taxiways allowing C-130 aircraft the ability to access the heavy ramp,” he continued.

Pilawski said the airport location was ideal for the certification.

“The Perry Airport was chosen due to its proximity to Robins AFB,” said Pilawski. “It’s a very close training site, and a relationship already existed with the Perry Airport from previous exercises.”

The certification of the airport was a noteworthy event.

“This event was of incredible significance,” said Logan “The Perry Airport used to serve as a pilot training location during World War II. This marked the first time an aircraft of this size had landed there in many years.”

The 700th ALS had an important role in the certification.

“The team at Dobbins was instrumental, as our objective was to get a C-130 aircraft to conduct a full-stop landing at Perry Airport,” said Logan. “Being able to see it through to the end has been amazing.”

Logan said he will continue to build upon what they have accomplished.

“I am incredibly excited to have continued to build a relationship with our local flying community,” he said. “The aircrew at Dobbins did an amazing job, and we are already looking at planning future training missions with them.”