A group of Philippine air traffic controllers from the Puerto Princesa Airport (PPA) visited Marine Air Control Squadron 4’s (MACS-4) field air traffic control unit on Antonio Bautista Air Base, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Republic of the Philippines April 17, 2012.
This is just one of the many bilateral exercises between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Task Force Palawan that’s taking place during Exercise Balikatan 2012 (BK12), an annual bilateral training exercise designed to build the joint interoperability between Philippine and U.S. military members.
The airport, which is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and the air base share the same flight line, which is also being used by Task Force Palawan for the duration of BK12.
The PPA air traffic control center has similar capabilities as MACS-4, but the airport’s long distance range is not as far as MACS-4, said Nathaniel T. Rodriguez, the air traffic control supervisor at PPA.
The two air components collaborated together for BK12 and worked together to achieve the most feasible means of air traffic control.
“We integrated very well,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ricardo Clayton, the detachment air traffic control operations chief with MACS-4, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We were able to merge our capabilities with theirs.”
MACS-4 uses their equipment and technology to see the direction and speed of the aircraft from miles away, said Clayton. The PPA has the tower, which provides full range of site of the flight line and they have the best sight to direct the traffic on the ground.
“(The PPA) provides tower service and we provide arrival service,” said Clayton. “With these combined, we have full air traffic control.”
MACS-4 also has meteorology equipment which can make accurate weather predictions. They share this information with PPA through their liaison.
The group from PPA was very grateful and pleased that they had the chance to visit their career counterparts.
“This is really nice coming here, especially because of what (the Marines) offer. It’s very useful and this was a great opportunity,” said Rodriguez.
BK12, in its 28th iteration, also includes several humanitarian civic assistance projects across Palawan, ground military training operations on both Palawan and Luzon provinces and a natural disaster response command post exercise in Luzon province.