NDI looks below the surface

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
About half of the 6,000 personnel stationed at Moody work in one of several maintenance specialties.

One unique maintenance unit uses specialized equipment to go beyond the surface to identify defects in aircraft parts. The Non Destruction Inspection unit performs preventative maintenance to save money by identifying defects before they become major problems.

"We use different methods to inspect aircraft parts and oil," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Crystal Bradley, 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron NDI craftsman. "Some of the methods we use to look for defects in the aircraft include X-ray and ultrasonic.

"Our focus is preventative maintenance," she added. "We have the tools and equipment to see things before anyone else. We don't fix things but we have a very important role within maintenance."

The equipment that NDI uses, ranges from specialzed X-ray rooms to sensitive hand-held ultra-sonic scanners.

"One challenge that we face is keeping up with all the intricate equipment that we have," said Bradley. "Our equipment is really important to our job."

One of the primary duties that NDI performs is testing aircraft oil. NDI checks oil before it is used to make sure there are no harmful chemicals mixed in and again after flight to identify potential problems with an engine.

"We check the oil to see what elements are in it, then check to see if those elements are acceptable," she added. "By knowing what is in the oil, we can determine what is wrong with an engine."

"The Joint Oil Analysis Program is a Department of Defense program," said Bradley. "The program is standardized across the services. We could even check tanks for the Army if needed.

In addition to checking oil, NDI inspects aircraft parts using other types of equipment.

"It takes a lot of knowledge and training to operate the equipment we use," said Airman 1st Class Dominic Urrutia, 23rd EMS NDI apprentice. "This is a fun job, and I would've never thought it would be this interesting," he added. "There are not many people who know how to do what we do."

The 22 Airmen in NDI use their knowledge to keep Moody's aircraft flying in support of missions at home and downrange.