You can't make it ... crossing at Bong Street

  • Published
  • By Maj. Robert Noonan
  • 49th Fighter Wing chief of safety
Recently, there has been at least two occasions where vehicle operators utilizing the Taxiway Hotel vehicle crossing at Bong Street have been pulling in front of Taxiing F-117A, in an apparent attempt to cross the taxiway prior to the aircraft reaching the intersection. 

Only quick reactive action on the part of the F-117 pilots averted potential aircraft/vehicle mishaps. Deputy Airfield Manager, Mr. Eric P. Martinez, observed that Holloman instruction states: "No vehicle will stop or drive in the path of taxing aircraft, exception is 'follow me' vehicles, which lead the aircraft to parking location. No vehicle will drive between an aircraft and its 'follow me' vehicle." 

Mr. Martinez added that when a potential mishap that involves a taxiing aircraft and vehicle occur, the following actions take place immediately: the pilot of the aircraft radios the tower with a description of the vehicle; the tower will pick up the violator with binoculars, while security forces Airmen and Airfield Management are being notified; the tower will continue to track the vehicle's whereabouts and guide security forces and/or Airfield Management to the vehicle involved with the incident. 

To aid you in safely crossing taxiway Hotel during flying operations, use the following rule of thumb: when crossing Bong Street, ensure there are no taxiing aircraft within 100 yards of the POV crossing. For aircraft coming from the West Area, this equates to approximately the two engine run "hush" houses on the southwest side of the taxiway. For aircraft coming from Runway 16/34, if they have completely cleared the runway and are taxiing westbound on Hotel, do not pull out in front of them. Let the aircraft pass completely and wait until you have at least 200 feet of spacing behind them before proceeding across. Beware of multiple aircraft taxiing in formation. If aircraft are completely stopped and holding in Arm/De-arm Hotel, it is safe to proceed across the taxiway at the Bong Street POV crossing. But, if they are moving, stay put. 

Night operations will begin again later in the fall and, while these references are still valid day and night, darkness poses a challenge at this crossing. Pilots taxiing out to the runway from the West Area or taxiing back off of Runway16/34 will always have all their landing lights on as they approach the Bong Street crossing. So at night, if you can see the aircraft's bright white lights moving towards the crossing, stay put! 

Usually the temptation to speed and create shortcuts around safe practices is a result of being in a rush. Give yourself extra time to cross this intersection so you don't put yourself in a bad situation. Use safe practices outlined in HAFBI 13-202, when operating a vehicle in the vicinity of moving or parked aircraft and always yield to taxiing aircraft.