Friday, October 3, 2014

TOP STORY >> The nuts and bolts of a FOD walk

By Airman 1st Class Mercedes Muro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

Airmen gathered for a foreign object debris walk of the flightline Sept. 9, 2014, to detect and clean up damaging debris to an aircraft.

FOD walks are one way Airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base take preventative measures to ensure mission readiness and safe, effective mission execution.

Whether on the aircraft or on the runway itself, these preventative measures will help eliminate damage to C-130s. During a FOD walk, Airmen walk along the flightline looking for debris that could cause any type of damage to aircraft.

“Something as small as one pebble, nut or washer being ingested into an engine is enough to cause hundreds of thousands of dollars and manpower to fix,” said Tech. Sgt. Jesse Lesko, 19th Airlift Wing FOD monitor. “The intake suction from an engine is powerful enough to ingest any loose material lying on the airfield. C-130s generate heavy wind gusts, which can easily send objects airborne and create hazards to nearby aircraft and personnel.” 

Before a FOD walk, Airmen line up evenly across the width of the ramp on one end of the flightline. They then walk to a predetermined stopping point. 

Airmen search for any pieces of foreign debris as they walk down the flightline. At certain points during the walk, a siren is announced and alerts Airmen to stop walking. 

To help identify the origins of the debris, members of the 19th Maintenance Group’s quality assurance flight, walk from both sides of the line to the middle with containers to collect and document the location of any findings.

To keep Airmen fully engaged during FOD walks, the Golden Bolt Program was established. 

“We will randomly place an actual golden-colored bolt in a discreet location prior to the start of the walk,” said Lesko. “It helps encourage a thorough sweep by ensuring personnel pay particular attention around hard to reach areas.  The Airman that finds this bolt is rewarded a one-day pass and letter of recognition from the vice wing commander. They also receive a special FOD fighter coin and an engraved knife.” 

Although common recruits for the FOD walk are Airmen who work on the flightline, anyone with a flight line badge can join the walk. 

“The program is always looking for increased participation and maintains an open invitation to others who might seldom traverse the flightline area,” said Lesko. 

For more information or to participate in a FOD walk, call (501) 987-5994.

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