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Brake check: 786th CES certifies barrier

An Airman inspecting a barrier arresting kit during training.

Tech. Sgt. Robert Miller, 435th Construction and Training Squadron command aircraft arrest system supervisor, inspects the nylon tape of the barrier arresting kit during an annual certification test at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 9, 2021. An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany provided the fighter aircraft support for the annual certification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emmeline James)

Airmen inspect a barrier arrest system cable during a certification.

Airmen with the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron inspect the aircraft arrest system cable after the annual certification test at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 9, 2021. The test ensures the stability of the AAS hydraulics when catching an aircraft in an emergency landing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emmeline James)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

An annual recertification of the barrier arresting kit was conducted by the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron and 435th Construction and Training Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 9, 2021.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, flew provided the fighter aircraft support the annual certification of the aircraft arresting system.

The two-part system is there for an aircraft experiencing an in-flight emergency issue which prevents the pilot from safely landing.

The BAK-14 is the support system, while the BAK-12 is the braking unit which is attached to nylon tapes connected to the cable in which tailhook-equipped aircraft catches. As the aircraft transits the runway, it pulls the tape off the reel which slowly increases the system’s hydraulic pressure. This gradual increase in hydraulic pressure is what brings the aircraft to a safe and controlled stop.

“The system is capable of catching 65 million foot-pounds at about 180 knots,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Miller, 435th CTS command AAS supervisor. “It will pay out about 1,200 feet of tape when engaged.”

One foot-pound translates to the amount of kinetic energy it takes to move a one pound object one foot.

“It provides safety and security to any tailhook-equipped aircraft which may need to make an emergency landing,” said Tech. Sgt. Bryce Skawski, 786th CES power production craftsman.

Ramstein serves as the gateway to the world and is identifies as a stopping point, or divert base, for a variety of transient aircraft. The airfield is just one rated for fighter aircraft in the European theater.

“It (BAK-12/14) enables any mission tied to a fighter aircraft by giving them an additional area to land if another runway is unavailable,” Miller said.

Certification of the BAK system not only reinforces Ramstein’s partnerships with other bases but also it provides opportunities for personnel to become more familiar with the equipment and reset procedures.