Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- Marines with Marine Aviation Logistic Squadron 14 and technicians with Fleet Readiness Center East extended their streak of maintenance and quality assurance excellence recently, passing their ninth Nondestructive Testing and Inspection with zero finds.
During the NDT/I, X-ray scans are conducted on the intake system of an AV-8B Harrier to ensure no foreign objects or debris are inside. Zero finds means that there was no FOD found during the NDT/I.
According to Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Atwood, a radiation safety officer with MALS-14, every NDT/I during the past five years has resulted in zero finds.
“It is extremely rare for there to be a find during the inspection,” said Atwood. “There are too many precautions and safety measures in place to let something like that slip through the cracks. The NDT/I ensure the aircraft is FOD free.”
There are two different types of inspections, open and closed
facility, said Atwood.
Closed facility inspections occur regularly within a lead-lined shielded facility, said Schmidt. The inspection is designed to analyze specific parts and systems of the aircraft, said Schmidt.
“Open facility operations are accomplished without the protection of the traditional lead-lined shielded facility because there is no vault large enough to fit an entire aircraft,” said Stephen Schmidt, the radiation safety officer for FRC East.
Open facility inspections are conducted quarterly in a larger building secluded from other personnel to add to existing safety protocols. X-ray equipment is set up for each scan before the technicians move to safe areas for the scan. The additional manpower provided by the MALS-14 Marines allows for better safety monitoring during the scans.
“Each time we conduct an open facility operation, it takes at least five people to accomplish the set-up, realignment, boundary monitoring, film development and tear down,” said Schmidt. “This can be really taxing on our NDT/I branch. The assistance from MALS-14 relieves some of the manpower pressure on the FRC East team and provides training and experience for the Marines. It is a real win for everyone.”