HomeMediaArticle Display

Getting Arrested - F-16 Tests Runway Cable System

With a weight of 29,000 lbs. and at a speed of almost 110 MPH, Lt. Col. Nick Radney, a pilot with the115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., brings an F-16 Fighting Falcon  safely to a stop after a test of the Barrier Arresting Kit 12, a system designed to be "hooked" by an aircraft if needed to stop the aircraft.

With a weight of 29,000 pounds and a speed of almost 110 MPH, Lt. Col. Nick Radney, a pilot with the115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., brings an F-16 Fighting Falcon safely to a stop after a test of the Barrier Arresting Kit 12, a system designed to be "hooked" by an aircraft if needed to stop the aircraft

Staff Sgt. Jordan Jensen, a crew chief with the115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., resets the tail hook on an F-16 Fighting Falcon that is used to "hook" the Barrier Arresting Kit 12  cable installed at the end of each runway, a system designed to stop an aircraft.

Staff Sgt. Jordan Jensen, a crew chief with the115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., resets the tail hook on an F-16 Fighting Falcon that is used to "hook" the Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable installed at the end of each runway, a system designed to stop an aircraft.

The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft.

The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft.

The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft.

The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft.

The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft.

The Barrier Arresting Kit 12 cable is installed at the end of each runway is designed to stop an aircraft.

VOLK FIELD CRTC, Wis. -- An explanation of what a BAK-12 is might as well be written in Greek for many people, but when explained using a comparison from the movie "Top Gun", it might be translated more clearly.  The year was 1986. Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell circled the USS Enterprise as he prepared to land the aircraft. On the flight deck was a cable, tightly strung across the metal deck. As Maverick approached, he released an arresting hook from the rear of the aircraft. When the hook and cable connected, the system had one purpose: to safely stop the pilot and plane.

Just like on an aircraft carrier, a cable is run across most military runways to stop certain aircraft. Unlike an aircraft carrier, a Barrier Arrestment Kit-12 at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis., is used only as a last resort when pilots are unable to stop an aircraft on their own.

Members of the 115th Fighter Wing from Madison, WI, and Volk Field CRTC re-certified two BAK-12 systems during the October guard drill weekend here.

"Each BAK-12 must be certified once a year and put through a comparable test that it would receive in a real-world landing where an aircraft has difficulties stopping," said Master Sgt. Darrell Miller, a crew chief from the 115th FW.

A BAK-12, just like an aircraft carrier arrestment system, can save a life, prevent the loss of military equipment and give assurance to pilots should their aircraft experience maintenance issues.

"The BAK-12 has to accommodate all possibilities," said Lt. Col. Nick Radney, an F-16 fighter pilot from the 115th Fighter. "There are lots of different aircraft that use Volk Field. If an aircraft has an emergency situation, the pilot knows he will be able to stop the aircraft on the runway."

With a weight of 29,000 pounds and at a speed of almost 110 MPH, Colonel Radney and the F-16 he piloted came safely to a stop after both tests of the BAK-12, one on each end of the runway.

As a former Navy pilot of F-18 Hornets, Colonel Radney has experience using cables to land on aircraft carriers. Unlike a carrier landing, however, the F-16 came to a smooth stop over a distance of 1200 feet.
F-16s are unable to use a carrier-based arrestment system due to the design of the plane. A carrier arrestment system is designed to stop an aircraft in less than 350 feet. An F-18 is more bulky than an F-16, which gives the F-16 much better maneuverability but also makes it unable to take the strain of a carrier landing, said Colonel Radney.

The BAK-12 cable has to accommodate many different types of aircraft and many different speeds, whether it is a very light and small aircraft or a heavy aircraft fully loaded with fuel and munitions.
There are many aircraft that can utilize the barrier system should they need it, said Lt. Col. Radney. Included are planes with a tail hook system like the F-15 and F-16, and even many foreign aircraft, he added.

For a pilot, the BAK-12 gives peace of mind and ensures the plane will come to a safe stop.

"One of the great things about having the barrier system out there is that no matter what potential maintenance problem might occur, as long as I can get myself back to the field, I can get myself stopped with the arresting hook," said Colonel Radney. "Thankfully, I have never needed to use the arresting hook because of the fine maintenance crew and the quality of the F-16," he added.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.