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BASH Program promotes aviator, community safety at JBSA-Randolph

By 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Aug. 7, 2019

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In an ongoing effort to reduce airfield obstructions at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard team has an approved plan for the pruning and removal of selected trees at JBSA-Randolph. Trees that impose a significant risk to aviators, and the families they fly over, will be modified to improve aviator and community safety.

The focus of the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard team, or BASH, is to mitigate hazards caused by wildlife. Among these hazards are bird strikes to aircraft with JBSA-Randolph averaging 38 strikes every year. Across the nation, these strike cause more than $75 million in damage to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.

Landscaping will most likely begin in August and proceed based on priority. The first hazards scheduled for mitigation are the trees located along 5th Street East. Roughly 40 trees between North Perimeter Road and New B Street East will be removed in order to reduce airfield obstructions.

“The goal is to make this airfield unattractive to wildlife,” said Bryan Wilmunen, 502nd Air Base Wing aviation safety program manager.

Nearly a dozen trees will remain to provide shade for the bleachers of the adjacent ballpark.

“Our goal is to continually balance the needs of our community with the safety of our aviators,” said Maj. Joshua Leibel, 12th Flying Training Wing safety officer and BASH program manager. “Aviator safety and community health and wellness can be balanced to ensure the Air Force mission is always achieved.”

Additional areas where landscaping is proposed include Eberle Park, the Randolph Golf Course, portions of the Randolph Clinic parking lot and trees in the vicinity of airfields.

“One of the key hazards to flying operations are birds crossing the airfield during takeoff and landing,” Leibel said. “In light of this, we’re prioritizing hazards that are closest to pilot training to quickly and effectively improve safety.

Although the Randolph Golf Course has already completed an initial phase of landscaping, a follow-up project is due to further improve flight safety.

“Our guests can expect to see some landscaping near hole five but can rest-assured that the course will remain open to play,” said Clayton Kauha, 502nd Force Support Squadron Pro Shop supervisor. “There are close to 2,000 trees on our course, so the estimated removal of 60 should have minimal impact on the positive golfing experience our customers have come to expect.”

Project starts dates remain pending but will be sent to base personnel and residents by email once finalized. Additionally, newly discovered hazards may lead to further landscaping to improve flight and  community safety.

For additional information on BASH initiatives, contact the 12th Flying Training Wing safety office at 210-652-2224.