About FOD Program
The ASMP program directed to FOD is a performance assessment of FOD detection technologies. FOD can come from many sources on the airport, and the many sources increase the complexity of maintaining safe aircraft movement areas. FOD can be generated from airport infrastructure (pavements, visual aids), the environment (wildlife, snow, ice) and the equipment operating on the airfield (aircraft, airport operations vehicles, maintenance equipment, fueling trucks, other aircraft servicing equipment, and construction equipment). The exact nature of FOD is also varied. FOD can be composed of any material of any color and size. In a one year airport study in France, over 60% of the items were metal followed by rubber (18%), black items made up nearly 50% of the FOD collected, and the size of FOD was 1 inch by 1 inch (2.5 cm x 2.5 cm) or smaller. Typical foreign objects include the following:
- aircraft and engine fasteners (nuts, bolts, washers, safety wire, etc.);
- aircraft parts (fuel caps, landing gear fragments, oil sticks, metal sheets, trapdoors, and tire fragments);
- mechanics' tools;
- flight line items (nails, personnel badges, pens, pencils, etc.);
- apron items (paper and plastic debris from catering and freight pallets, luggage parts, and debris from ramp equipment);
- runway and taxiway materials (concrete and asphalt chunks, rubber joint materials, and paint chips);
- construction debris (pieces of wood, stones, fasteners and miscellaneous metal objects);
- plastic and/or polyethylene materials; and
- paper products.
The challenge for FOD detection technologies is to rapidly detect FOD and provide alerts that lead to the removal of detected FOD. At present FOD detection is based on regular inspection and monitoring of airport surfaces. The primary “sensor” is the human eye but recent technological developments have greatly expanded the capabilities of FOD detection and management. The advanced detection technologies now available improve FOD detection, including capabilities for continuous detection on runways and other aircraft movement areas and mobile detection devices to supplement the capabilities of airport personnel. There are two general designs. One design features continuous FOD detection systems that operate from a fixed location, scanning the airport surface and providing alarms or alerts to FOD presence. These designs employ radar, optical, or hybrid radar/optical sensors. The second design features a mobile detection system, using a radar sensor to enhance the capabilities of airport personnel in FOD detection during normal inspection activities. The available mobile design uses a radar sensor, although alternatives include a combined laser and radar system.
CEAT was a major partner in the development of Advisory Circular NO 150/5220-24 "Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment. In the performance assessments of FOD detection technologies the CEAT team has placed over 15,000 FOD objects on active runways (and retrieved same). A copy of the AC is available by clicking here or on the link in the panel to the right.