News: Arresting gear truly vital
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph Karwick
IWAKUNI, Japan - Expeditionary airfield technician Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, have begun surveying the land around Tinians’ North Field airfield during Exercise Geiger Fury 2012 May 16.
The technicians surveyed the land in order to properly place emergency arresting gear.
Arresting gear is mechanical systems used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Typical arresting systems lay a cable across the aircraft landing area, designed to be caught by an aircraft's tailhook.
During a normal arrestment, when the tailhook catches the wire it engages it and the aircraft's kinetic energy is transferred to the ends of the wire.
“In order for us to be able to land jets at this airfield we must have the arresting set in place properly,” said Lance Cpl. Devin J. Ward, MWSS-171, expeditionary airfield technician. “If an engine goes out or a jet needs to make an emergency landing then they have to drop their hook and latch on to the arresting gear so they can slow down and ensure that the plane will not take off again.”
The arresting gear is counterweighted to the ground by large metal stakes driven deeply into the earth in a spider web fashion in order to ensure maximum weight distribution.
“If the arresting gear is not firmly attached to the ground then when a plane tries to hook up, the speed and weight of the jet could completely uproot the arresting gear,” said Lance Cpl. Dakota J. Clark, MWSS-171 expeditionary airfield technician. “It is a very delicate process. If it isn’t done right the first time then there could be a very destructive and costly consequence.”
The arresting gear is an absolute necessity before aircraft can land on the airfields of Tinian.
“No arresting gear, no planes,” said Ward. “We have to be able to ensure that the planes can land safely under any circumstance.”
The actions and progression of MWSS-171 confirms the operational capabilities of Tinian’s airfields. During Exercise Geiger Fury 2012 these historic runways, which launched war changing sorties, will be able to perform to their fullest potential throughout the entire exercise with today's multi-million dollar aircraft.