ECES Electrical and Host Nation Partners Light it Up

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. George Burr
  • 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The 332nd ECES Electrical Shop has recently proven they have the power to illuminate mission capabilities. Flying mission capabilities that is!

When Staff Sgt. Bjorgvin Gislason and David Livoti received a briefing from the Airfield Manager, Technical Sergeant Jeremy Butterworth, of an airfield plagued with multiple lighting problems and NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) identifying airfield discrepancies, they immediately, despite manning shortfalls, bolted into action to form an airfield lighting crew that has already improved airfield lighting deficiencies by 17 percent, since their commencing in early February 2017.

According to the most recent Airfield Management report, 19 edge lights that were previously believed to be beyond repair, are now providing critical lighting to the approach ends of runways 13/31 and 08/26.

Prior to these successful repairs, approaches made by joint force aviators had to be attempted in near blackout conditions during the first 2,000 feet of each runway approach end. This made the visual approaches doable but sketchy, especially on nights when pilot visibility is decreased by low ceiling cloud cover, or during inclement weather.

The airfield lighting team was also able to restore two precision approaches that have supported a total of 76 heavy aircraft, and discovered a work-around that allowed them to replace 16 PAPI system bulbs, which restored the visual approach capability for joint force aviators.

The Precision Approach Path Indicator, a critical aviator tool, provides pilots with a safe and accurate visual glide slope on final approach to the runway. A row of PAPI lights are seen by the pilot in combinations of red and white to indicate a path that is too high, too low or correctly on slope. This number one lighting priority for Airfield Management with regard to airfield safety and compliance standards, deemed in dire need of repair, was made fully operational by the airfield lighting team.

The airfield lighting team consists of two primary members from ECES, Staff Sgt. David Livoti and Senior Airman Alejandro Ozuna, both of Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. They were assisted by Mr. Frank Pezzuto, Contract Electrical Engineer from AECOM, and several host nation lighting crew members.

 The team still has work cut out for them as they have recently stepped up to the task of replacing 10 Constant Current Regulators located in the airfield’s 4 lighting vaults at the ends of each runway, which are also deemed as being beyond repair. CCR units can be thought of as the central nervous system that provides electricity, communications, and control to all airfield runway, taxiway, and approach lights, including airport directions signage, as well as remote control capability from the airfield tower; pivotal equipment in the world of airfield management.

Once this is accomplished, the team will focus on taxiway lighting by replacing bulbs and fixtures and bringing the entire airfield up to U.S. Air Force Standards, thus making for a safe flying experience for our joint force pilots, and everyone having a need to navigate the airfield in one way of another.

The airfield lighting team is optimistic their team’s endeavors can be accomplished during this rotation. Should it not be possible, the team still have accomplished fulfilling both the legacy and creed of all who pass through the base, which is “Leaving it better than they found it.”