How to deal with Foreign Object Debris on Runaways

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Foreign Object Debris (FOD) on runways can cause severe damage to planes and other vehicles by puncturing tires and suction into the engines and air vents. FOD is an object that doesn’t belong in or near airplanes. Runway maintenance services have a responsibility of preventing expensive damaged from FOD. A FOD-prevention program to Remove Debris from Runway can be effective if it addresses the following four main areas:

  1. Training

Airport tenants and airline personnel should receive training on how to identify and eliminate FOD. They should also be trained about the potential dangers. The training supplements the general FOD awareness integrated into the airside driver-training curriculum found in established airports.

FOD training for flight crews involves learning the suggested procedures identified in the Flight Crew Operating Manual. Trainees should be thought about hazards to equipment, safety to personnel and passengers, the costs associated with FOD damage, the indirect losses incurred in the event of flight delays and rescheduling.

  1. Inspection

If feasible, the runway personnel can join the airport staff during the daily airside facility inspection. This will help promote familiarity with conditions of the local airfield and promote a culture of effective communication between airlines and airports.

Performing a daily inspection of airplane maneuvering areas and removing FOD is a requirement under The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Apart from performing the daylight inspection at the beginning of the day, airside personnel is also required to look for FOD during their regular shifts.

  1. Maintenance

Active maintenance practice that helps Remove Debris from Runway include:

  • Sweeping- A professional runway sweeper has the appropriate gear and equipment to Remove Debris from Runway. The runway sweeper can remove debris from all areas including pavement joints and cracks. Aircraft maneuvering areas, gates, and aprons should be swept routinely. Areas for staging ground support (GSE) should be swept periodically.
  • Rumble strips- FOD dislodges from the undercarriages of vehicles when they drive over rumble strips. The strips can be removed and used at the airside construction areas, or at transitions from landside to airside.
  • Magnetic bars- Metallic material can be picked with magnetic bars suspended beneath trucks and tugs. However, the magnetic bars have to be cleaned and checked regularly to ensure they don’t drop any collected debris.
  • FOD containers- All gates should have FOD containers for collecting debris. The bins should be emptied regularly to avoid overflowing or creating another FOD. Airport personnel should also consider wearing waist pouches to help them collect FOD during their regular shifts.
  1. Coordination

An airport should have a FOD committee made up of airport tenant representatives. These representatives can successfully address the airport’s specific problems and other local conditions. Coordinating FOD control efforts amongst all interested parties is an effective way to handle debris on runways.