A. Non- FOD Sensitive An area where the risk associated with a FO is negligible and no FOD control measures are needed.

B. FOD Awareness Area An area where the risk associated with a FO resulting in hardware damage/contamination is low.

C. FOD Control Area An area where the risk associated with a FO resulting in hardware damage/contamination is medium.

D. FOD Critical Area An area where the risk associated with a FO resulting in hardware damage/contamination is high.

Foreign Object (FO) and Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Definitions APPENDIX

A.1 Clean-As-You-Go - Defined by National Aerospace FOD Prevention, Inc. (NAFPI) as follows: “Clean the immediate area when work cannot continue. Clean the immediate area when debris has the potential to migrate to an out of sight or inaccessible area and give the appearance of poor workmanship. Clean the area prior to leaving it unattended, when work cannot continue, after work is completed or at the end of shift, whichever comes first. If you see something, drop something, see or hear something drop, pick it up.”

A.2 Consumables - For the purposes of this procedure, supplies provided to workers that are considered expendable; i.e., personal protective equipment, sealants, solvents, paint, brushes, applicators, sandpaper, rags, wipes, rivets, washers, fasteners, and other hardware.

A.3 Corrective Action Plan - Steps to be taken to prevent the root cause(s) of a FO and/or FOD incident from occurring again. The corrective action plan is not the direction necessary to remove the FO and restore the hardware.

A.4 Critical Foreign Object - FO debris that has a significant probability of causing system or component malfunction or deterioration if the item containing the FO debris is put into use.

A.5 Foreign Object Damage (FOD) - Any damage attributed to a FO that can be expressed in physical or economic terms, which may or may not degrade the product’s safety and/or performance characteristics.

A.6 Foreign Object (FO) - A substance, debris or article alien to a vehicle or system that would potentially cause damage.

A.7 Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Awareness Area - Any area designated as a low-risk area where quality sensitive products or hardware are in place and exposure to FOs would potentially cause a system or product malfunction or failure. Organizational Culture is focused on safety, reliability, and functionality by protecting all personnel, products and services from FO debris and damage.

A.8 Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Control Area - Any area identified as a medium-risk area where quality sensitive products or hardware are in place and exposure to FOs would potentially cause system or product damage, malfunction or failure. Stringent accountability measures shall be applied to control the risk of FOD in the area.

A.9 Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Critical Area - Any area identified as a high-risk area where quality sensitive products or hardware are in place and exposure to FOs would potentially cause system or product damage, malfunction or failure. Strict accountability measures shall be applied to control the risk of FOD in the area.

A.10 Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Sensitive Area – any area designated as either a FOD Awareness Area, a FOD Control Area, or a FOD Critical Area.

A.11 Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Sensitive Work – Work that is being conducted in a FOD sensitive area.

A.12 Foreign Object (FO) and Foreign Object Damage (FOD) Incident - An instance where a FO or FOD is found.

A.13 Housekeeping - Basic element of controlling a safe and effective work environment. Proper cleaning and organizing techniques are followed to ensure the prevention and elimination of FOs. Maintenance, manufacturing, testing and all other operational areas shall remain clean and organized with the ultimate goal to prevent debris from migrating into critical and complex hardware and facilities. The clean-as-you go work ethic is one of the most effective provisions for production, service, and preservation of products.

A.14 Non-FOD Sensitive - An area where the risk associated with a FO is negligible and no FOD control measures are needed.

A.15 Shadowbox - A tool box with specific, marked locations for each tool so that a missing tool will be readily noticeable.

A.16 Tether - A lanyard of sufficient strength (wire, rope, cable, etc.) attached to the tool/equipment and to the user or fixed secure object. The tether should be minimum length to preclude damage from tethered tool “free swing”.

A.17 Tote Tray - A device for storing/carrying/transporting tools or equipment in a secure manner to prevent inadvertent dropping: i.e., a tool holder, an apron with pocket rings to which tools can be secured. Tote trays with lids will have the lid secured to the tote tray body.

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E-8C JSTARS – FOD Fuel Tank Rupture, 25 Million in damages

Original post courtesy of Aerossurance.com

The Incident
On 13 March 2009 USAF Northrop Grumman E-8C JSTARS 93-0597 (a heavily modified Boeing 707-300 surveillance aircraft) was in the process of refuelling from a KC-135T tanker according to a USAF Accident Investigation Board.


FILE PHOTO — The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System is a joint Air Force – Army program. The Joint STARS uses a multi-mode side looking radar to detect, track, and classify moving ground vehicles in all conditions deep behind enemy lines. The aircraft is the only airborne platform in operation that can maintain realtime surveillance over a corps-sized area of the battlefield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

After uplifting around 30,000 lbs of fuel the crew heard a “loud bang throughout the midsection of the aircraft.” Refueling was paused while the E-8C crew checked for damage. None was identified and fueling recommenced but “another series of loud noises and vibrations” were “heard and felt throughout the aircraft.” Onboard the KC-135T the boom operator saw fuel streaming from the E-8C. Once alerted the E-8C crew also spotted fuel pouring from “at least two holes in the left wing, just inboard of the number two engine.” The E-8C diverted back to its base at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

On inspection it was found that $25 million worth of damage had occurred when the no 2 main fuel tank had been over pressured and ruptured is a way that was described as “near catastrophic”.

Investigators found that a maintenance sub-contractor, FFC, employed by Northrop Grumman, had left a fuel vent test plug in one of the fuel tank’s climb relief vents during Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) tank de-seal/re-seal maintenance at the Northrop Grumman Lake Charles Maintenance and Modification Center in Louisiana.


E-8C Vents

The sub-contractor had reportedly failed to follow the USAF Technical Order (TO) procedures when using the plug during base maintenance. “The PDM subcontractor employed ineffective tool control measures,” say investigators.

The procedures required tool checks at the start and end of each shift but there was no evidence the tool was identified as missing. In fact, there was no records of any tools being taken into the fuel tanks, which was not credible considering the work that was completed. The plug was required to be fitted with a red ‘streamer’ but it was found without one too.

Due to the relatively short period of time between take-off and aerial refueling, E-8C did not have the opportunity to burn much fuel from the number two fuel tank which would have allowed a secondary dive valve, to open (as occurred during the aerial refueling when the aircraft deployed to theatre) and provide an alternative means to vent pressure.

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