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Yokota officials host bilateral safety conference

by Airman 1st Class Sean Martin
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/1/2010 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Forty-two Japanese civilian general aviation pilots landed here March 20 for the Kanto Plain Mid-Air Collision and Avoidance Conference conducted by the staff of the 374th Airlift Wing Safety Office.

The MACA conference brought military members together with civilian pilots from all over Japan, to focus on flight safety and to aid the Japanese pilots in understanding U.S. military flight procedures.

"This is the first time in history that Japanese civilian general aviation pilots were able to land on Yokota," said Yasumasa Hoyosa, Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association-Japan public relations practitioner.

The conference consisted of a tour of the air traffic control tower followed by a series of briefings on safety and military flight operations.

"The civilian pilots who came here now know more about how we fly, which allows us to work together more effectively," said Capt. Wesley Sides, the 374th AW chief of flight safety.

"It really helped us understand how to communicate with the air traffic controllers," said Mr. Hoyosa. "It gives us a better understanding of Yokota's airspace and the flight safety rules of the Kanto Plain area."

Capt. Sides said the feedback from the civilian pilots will go a long way to help air traffic control Airmen better serve their Japanese customers

This was the second event in the MACA safety agenda. Three months ago, Yokota AB officials held a conference for the Japanese Pilot Association that focused on similar topics, but without the pilots flying onto Yokota.

"We have never invited general aviation aircraft here for a conference of this magnitude," said Maj. James Morimoto, 374th Operations Support Squadron airfield operations flight commander. "Having nearly 50 aircraft here fly in one day and depart later that same day has never been done."

According to Mr. Hosoya, this conference brought Airman from Yokota and pilots from Japan together in a way that has never been done before.

"Beyond the boundary of civilian and military, we all got together to share information on air safety," said Mr. Hosoya. "It was great for our alliance and I would like to see this type of effort continue in the future."

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