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NAS PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - Standing shoulder-to-shoulder as they methodically made their way down the runway looking for anything large enough to pick up with their fingers, volunteers at NAS Patuxent River came together to support an often overlooked part of every day’s flight operations.
Military and civilian personnel from across NAS Patuxent River joined together for a foreign object and debris (FOD) walk down of the base’s airfield in early September. The event served as a reminder that aviation safety is everyone’s responsibility, and is as important on the ground as it is in the air.
“FOD walk downs are regular occurrences at NAS Patuxent River; however, we normally don’t take the time to walk the entire field. Since taking command of the base, security and safety have been my top priorities,” said Capt. Derrick Kingsley, NAS Patuxent River Commanding Officer. “Taking the time to pause operations and conduct a base-wide FOD walk down is necessary. Just because a FOD mishap hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean that we wait for it to happen to take action. That’s what Get Real and Get Better is all about. Leaning forward and taking action and ownership.”
Kingsley charged the NAS Patuxent River Air Operations Department – which oversees the Air Traffic Control, Airfield Services, and Ground Electronics Divisions on base – with coordinating the event and connecting with Pax River’s mission partners.
“We probably had somewhere in the ballpark of 100 people come out and support,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher “KP” Kuharpitters, NAS Patuxent River Air Operations Officer. “I can tell you is that FOD is a major safety concern for all of Naval Aviation and that is why FOD prevention programs exist throughout the Naval Aviation Enterprise,” added Kuharpitters.
Kuharpitters spearheaded coordination with mission partners across Pax River, including NAVAIR, NAWC-AD, and Naval Test Wing Atlantic.
“Thanks to the squadrons and commands that participated, we hope to do this every six months,” added Kingsley. “While the teambuilding aspect of the event was great to see, FOD prevention is a serious undertaking.”
FOD are any errant materials that can damage or otherwise be harmful to an aircraft engine or its components. These objects seriously damaging to aircraft, and put aircrews and ground support personnel alike at risk. According to the National Aerospace FOD Prevention, Inc., FOD damage costs the aviation industry approximately $13 billion a year in direct and indirect costs.
For more information on NAS Patuxent River, visit www.facebook.com/NASPaxRiver, www.twitter.com/NASPaxRiverPAO, and https://ndw.cnic.navy.mil/Installations/NAS-Patuxent-River/ .
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