Big Bend Aviation students get up close look at C-17

students walking up to C-17
Big Bend students board the visiting C-17 from Joint Base McChord during a visit last Friday (March 17, 2019).

By Cheryl Schweizer

MOSES LAKE — In a way, traffic in, out and around the Grant County International Airport is like any other transportation problem. But in another way it’s not – there is no such thing as an aviation fender-bender.

As a result, pilots have to pay careful attention to where they are – in relation to the airport and in relation to other traffic. And they must ensure other pilots and the control tower know where they are. That’s especially true in busy locations; Michael Rivera, a captain in the U.S. Air Force, said most in-air collisions happen within 10 miles of an airport.

Rivera is based at Joint Base McChord, and a lot of training is performed in the area of the Grant County Airport. A McChord crew usually visits BBCC once per year to discuss C-17 operations and sharing airspace with the big jets.

Traditionally the McChord crew brings along a visual aid – their plane. They did so Friday, and aviation students were allowed to take an up-close look, from cargo bay to cockpit.

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