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News > Commentary - Airfield driving: A privilege, not a right
Airfield driving: A privilege, not a right

Posted 1/18/2011   Updated 1/19/2011 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Airfield Management Office
1st Special Operations Support Squadron


1/18/2011 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- There may be no better sound for Hurlburt Field Airmen than the roaring take off of an Air Force Special Operations aircraft heading into the wild blue.

For many with the privilege of driving on the airfield, the sound of freedom is up close and personal as aircraft taxi past to take off into the sky.

For those who experience this firsthand, the privilege of airfield driving can only be realized after all training requirements are met. To be qualified to operate a vehicle on the airfield, drivers must receive special licenses. Squadron airfield driving program managers provide the required training, but the Airfield Management Flight issues the final test and certification. After completion, members receive certificates of competency - also known as the airfield drivers' competency card. All airfield drivers must have this document in their possession anytime they drive on the airfield.

In addition to training, there are other safety considerations when operating on the airfield. For example, to maintain awareness of their locations, drivers must carry airfield maps. Furthermore, all individuals driving privately owned vehicles on the airfield need an approved, airfield management issued POV pass displayed in the windshield of their vehicles.

When on the airfield, drivers must be aware of their surroundings and use approved traffic routes to get to work areas. Drivers also need to understand their abilities and be extra vigilant when driving at night. Remember, aircraft always have the right of way, so if drivers see aircraft coming toward them, they are required to pull over to a safe location.

There are also set speed limits that are strictly enforced. The penalties of speed violations vary depending on the severity of the infraction; however, they can range from airfield driving privilege suspensions for as little as seven days to permanent revocation. To ensure drivers maintain airfield driving privileges, they should take training seriously, comply with procedures and carry the proper documentation on the airfield.

The airfield is large. Simply having the credentials to drive on the airfield does not mean a person has the authority to drive in a Controlled Movement Area. Hurlburt Field houses two CMAs.  To enter these areas, drivers must be authorized CMA access - identified on their AF Form 483 - and obtain authorization from the air traffic control tower.

It is the responsibility of the base's Airfield Management to ensure a safe and efficient airfield. Drivers need to do their part and ensure their training is current and documented, they have an Air Force Form 483 in their possession, the vehicle has a POV pass (if applicable), and that they are armed with an airfield map for quick reference and situational awareness.

Driving on Hurlburt Field's airfield is a privilege, but that privilege can be revoked if someone is not adhering to established guidance.

For more information about the base airfield driving program, contact Airfield Management at 884-7808.



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