Rosecrans Airport backup location for Thunderbirds Published June 11, 2015 By Tech. Sgt. Michael Crane 139th Airlift Wing ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A mobile aircraft arresting system, or MAAS, was installed and tested here June 8, 2015 at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base. The system is being used as an emergency landing system for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds who are flying in the Wings Over Whiteman Airshow at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., scheduled for June 13 and 14. "It only takes 20 minutes for an F-16 to get here from Whiteman," said 2nd Lt. Krista Abernethy, who is assigned to the 139th Civil Engineer Squadron here. "Just in case there is an issue with their landing gear, this system will be ready to receive them." The MAAS uses a wire rope stretched across the runway that catches the aircraft tail hook to decelerate the plane during landing. A similar system is used on aircraft carriers, but this one is only used for emergency arrestments. The MAAS was installed by the Air Force's 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer, or RED HORSE Squadron, from Hurlbert Field, Fla., according to Abernethy. "We are more behind the scenes," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Alexander Toro, an electrical power production craftsman assigned to the 823rd RHS. "But it's a vital mission. Should something go wrong during an airshow, we have a safety net for them." The MAAS will stay at Rosecrans until August in order to support the U.S. Navy Blue Angels during the Kansas City Aviation Expo Airshow in Kansas City, Mo., scheduled for Aug. 22 and 23. The system will not affect normal flying operations at Rosecrans. An F-16 from the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing was here Monday to test the MAAS. The MAAS was tested by having the F-16 accelerate at 100 miles per hour with wheels on the ground, said Abernethy. "The wire caught the aircraft and brought it back to center," said Abernethy who also said everything went according to plan and the 823rd certified that the MAAS worked as intended.