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FOREIGN OBJECT DAMAGE (FOD) PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT IN THE DEPLOYED ENVIRONMENT

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Introduction

FOREIGN OBJECT DAMAGE (FOD) PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT IN THE DEPLOYED ENVIRONMENT by Nick Moore Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Extended Campus Travis AFB Resident Center July 2004 ABSTRACT Writer: Nick Moore Title: Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Prevention and Management in the Deployed Environment Institution: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Degree: Master of Aeronautical Science Year: 2004 As a result of the United States involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) many Air Force aircraft have been forced to operate in austere and rugged airfields. Force multiplying, rapid global mobility, and overall airpower are directly related to the military's ability to operate in the deployed environment. Although this mission is performed everyday and may not seem like a big deal, what is the impact to Air Force assets that continue to perform these operations on a daily basis? How can the Air Force prevent and minimize the hazards of Foreign Object Damage in these environments? This paper will attempt to analyze and answer these questions in further detail. INTRODUCTION Foreign Object Damage has been part of accidents and unscheduled maintenance reports since the earliest days of flight. But the problem of foreign objects really came into focus for the military with the high operations tempo of Air Force aircraft to the war zone environment, supporting the war against terrorism and the liberation of Iraqi. I had a chance to see these operations first hand while deployed to Kuwait City International Airport (KCIA) ...read more.

Middle

There are many causes of FOD, but the two main contributors are poor housekeeping and poor work habits (Clover, 2003). From my recent experience at KCIA, I learned the importance of combating FOD and developing a program to ensure FOD prevention is always in the minds of every single member that works on or around the flight line. From the one stripe Airman that turns the wrench to fix the aircraft to the Flight Commander or even Squadron Commander, who is in charge of making the overarching decisions for the entire squadron, FOD is everyone's responsibility. And this is where the story begins. In the desert terrain the wind blows day and night and you hardly have time for a breather when it comes to FOD prevention. Often times in a wartime atmosphere things or shall I say FOD, is overlooked because everyone is trying to get the mission done. There is so much emphasis on pushing the pallets, loading cargo, getting the passengers on the plane, and doing it all on a certain timeline. Sometimes a little trash on the runway or ramp might get overlooked and people might say, "ahhh, it's not going hurt anything, we're trying to get a job done here". However, this is one of the worst mistakes someone can make and its one of the most often made in the deployed environment. It really does not take much to severely damage or bring down an aircraft due to poor FOD prevention and management. ...read more.

Conclusion

As my time at KCIA was coming to an end, the final stages to the FOD plan were being implemented by the new personnel that were coming into replace us, so we could return home. A good effort had been made in a short timeframe to reduce the risk but there was and is still much to be done. Inspection, maintenance, and coordination for the FOD plan had all when fairly smooth but there was one ingredient missing to ensure this plan did not fail and lasted through all the swap outs. That ingredient was training. The new folks that came in to replace us realized that and quickly added it to list FOD program. Initial and refresher awareness training were required for most personnel so education will be the cornerstone to the success of the FOD prevention program. Placing posters in work centers and on bulletin boards and rotating them regulary can educate and motivate. Initial and reoccurring training was now taking place and ensured the stability and effectiveness of the prevention effort. SUMMARY Sometimes in the deployed environment, you have to think outside the box and you have to slow down long enough to realize the mission needs to go forward but it must go forward safely. The key to FOD prevention and control is constant vigilance and immediate action to remove the hazards from areas where planes, equipment, or personnel often encounter. The mission, especially in deployed or austere locations, depends largely on air assets being fully mission capable. That can only happen when training, inspection, maintenance, and coordination come together and everyone does his or her part to prevent FOD. ...read more.

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