Runways and taxiways are important strategic assets that must be properly secured and maintained. Over the years, unusual objects have been found on runways. Without a foreign object debris sweeper, these objects can cause serious damages.
Every year, foreign object debris (FOD) cost the aviation industry approximately $4 billion. The massive costs result from significant damages FOD cause on aircrafts, workers, passengers and pilots, and in severe cases even death.
In July 2000, the Concord crashed. Investigations unraveled that it was a FOD incident. A small piece of metal caused tire failure, which then ruptured the fuel tank and burning the craft. The crash claimed 113 lives and destroyed the $46 million aircraft.
Most FOD items found on runaways include nuts, wire, garbage, rocks, wheel covers, flattened aluminum cans, sticks and even broken pavement pieces. You can’t be sure what you’ll find. The fight against FOD in runways and taxiways never ends.
Although the probability of FOD causing devastating accidents is low, it remains one of the biggest fears in the aviation industry. As such, runways and taxiways need proper protection and care. Wondering how?
Use the right equipment
Runways and taxiways need regular inspection. Every airport needs FOD object debris sweeper automobiles to blow debris off the runway and suck or scoop the stuff up. Fortunately, most equipment can do that today.
One of the best FOD removal equipment in various airports is the FOD sweeper. This ingenious piece of machinery is usually attached to the back of a truck and pulled down taxiways and runways. As it moves, it gathers debris and deposits them in special designated capture zones.
Train staff members
Members of staff need training on the importance of FOD removal. They should be encouraged to pick up anything they spot on runways and taxiways. Therefore, whenever you have new employees, teach about FOD.
Although runways appear smooth, they have tiny grooves that prevent water from accumulating. If left, the water can turn airplanes into hydroplanes. But the tiny grooves give room for small debris such as rocks to remain stuck. Let your staff know that these debris need to be removed.
Regularly conduct inspections on runways and taxiways. This can be done by airplane, airport and airline personnel. Regular inspection increases familiarity with airfield conditions and encourages effective communication between airports and airlines.
If there are on-going constructions, it’s imperative to assign a dedicated team to conduct continuous FOD inspection.
Maintenance varies wildly from equipment to runway and taxiways. They include:
- Sweeping: Removes debris from joints and cracks
- Magnetic bars: Removes metallic materials
- FOD containers: Place containers at all gates and empty them regularly to avoid overflowing. Evaluate debris sources to identify sources.
- Barriers and Netting: Prevents animals and airborne FOD.
Keeping runways and taxiways safe is paramount. With the right equipment, staff and resources, you can save million of dollars.