Sumter, SC (WLTX) - The 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base hosted a group of local pilots Friday in an effort to build community relationships and get everyone on the same page about air traffic control.
Captain Kyle Bruton helped organize the event and says the mission was to promote safety and prevent mid air collisions like the one that happened two years ago.
"We've only had one mid-air collision within the last five years, it occurred in 2015" he explained.
July of 2015 a small plane collided with an F-16 fighter jet in Berkeley County. The F-16 pilot ejected safely, but the pilot and passenger of a Cessna civilian plane, 68-year-old Michael Johnson and 30-year-old Joseph Johnson were killed.
The event had local pilots fly into the base and a F-16 Viper Demonstration Team aerial practice. It also included a conversation about how they can share the same airways safely.
Bruton says his favorite part was talking to veterans who shared their passion for flying, "It's a great opportunity when we get to see veterans, thank them for their service and show them how we're continuing their tradition what we're doing today here at Shaw and foster their sense of community and nostalgia that they might have" he said.
This was the second annual event of its kind, Bruton says they'll try to do it every other year.