FOD walks help keep flightline clean

  • Published
  • By SSgt Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
Most Airmen at Grissom only venture out to the flightline during a commander’s call. Perhaps on the walk over, they’ve spotted the large gray trash can with the letters FOD.
FOD, or foreign object debris, is any debris that can cause damage to the aircraft. Most often, that includes, rocks, nuts, bolts or screws that may have been dropped or carried over by wind. 434th Maintenance Group routinely performs large scale FOD walks to look for those hazards.
“FOD is a really big deal. It can take down an aircraft. It can kill,” said Staff Sgt. Tanner Fye, a 434th MXG Quality Assurance Inspector.
Fye is the wing’s FOD monitor and helps organize the monthly FOD walks.
During the search, Airmen spread out across the flight line and collected any visible litter and deposited it in the designated can located between docks one and three. November’s search yielded just 15.6 ounces, a disappointing number according to Fye.
“We usually yield in the high eight or nine pounds.” he said. In this case, a bigger number is better, such as the 8.34 pounds found in October.
“The more we find on the ground, the less of a risk it is for the aircraft,” said Fye.
Not included in the final weight is the sought-after golden bolt. To help keep it fun, FOD walkers are instructed to be on the lookout for a golden bolt that’s strategically located on the walking path. The person who finds it, receives a coin as an incentive.
Although the searches are organized by maintenance, any Airman on base can participate. Airmen without a line badge need to be accompanied by a credentialed escort.
“We’d like to get more people involved,” said Fye. “Per the Air Force instruction, it’s supposed to be the whole wing, so we need to get the message out there.”
Although the FOD walks happen monthly and only on the flightline, Fye says any Airman can participate daily in keeping foreign objects off of the flightline.
“If you see hardware or something on the ground, just take a second to stop and pick it up, “he said. “It keeps the wind from blowing it to the flightline and keeps a nail or something from getting in someone’s tire.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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