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CURRENT AIRPORT INSPECTION PRACTICES REGARDING FOD (FOREIGN OBJECT DEBRIS/DAMAGE) SUMMARY Foreign Object Debris (FOD) exists in many different forms, comes from many different sources, and can be found anywhere on an airport's air operations area (AOA). FOD can cause damage to aircraft in the form of torn or punctured tires, punctured airframes, nicked turbine or propeller blades, and, in rare instances, even engine failure. FOD can also cause injury to airport employees as debris are propelled by jet blast, prop, or rotor wash. Whether in the form of a fuel cap, luggage tag, concrete chunk, or animal, FOD directly costs the U.S. aviation industry $474 million annually and the global aviation industry $1.26 billion annually. Direct plus indirect costs, such as flight delays, cost the U.S. aviation industry $5.2 billion annu- ally and the global aviation industry $13.9 billion annually. Owing to the propensity of FOD to cause such extensive and costly damage, detecting and removing FOD from an air- port's AOA is an extremely critical task for ensuring safety. As stated by E. Miart of Euro- control, "Runway safety cannot be understood without addressing FOD." Historically, airports have conducted regular self-inspections to inspect for, detect, and remove FOD. Specifically, FAA Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 139.327 (applicable to U.S. certificated airports) requires that self-inspections be conducted daily. Although the airport operator is inspecting other areas (such as markings, lighting, and safety areas) for compliance during a self-inspection, an emphasis on FOD detection is an impor- tant part of every self-inspection. As stressed in Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5210-24, Air- port Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management: The presence of FOD on an airport's air operations area (AOA) poses a significant threat to the safety of air travel. FOD has the potential to damage aircraft during critical phases of flight, which can lead to catastrophic loss of life and airframe, and at the very least increased maintenance and operating costs. FOD hazards can be reduced, however, through the implementation of a FOD management pro- gram and the effective use of FOD detection and removal equipment. In conducting regular self-inspections for FOD, airports are adopting a proactive approach. Proactive self-inspections serve to mitigate the hazards associated with FOD and ensure that FOD is detected and removed promptly upon detection. Additionally, reactive self-inspections may be part of a FOD management program. A reactive self-inspection may result from a pilot observing FOD on the runway and subsequently reporting this finding to Air Traffic Control, which then relays the FOD report to the airport operator to ensure its prompt removal. A reactive self-inspection may also be initiated after FOD is observed by Air Traffic Control and reported to the airport operator. In an effort to better control FOD and minimize the hazards associated with it on the AOA, many airports have developed comprehensive FOD management programs. To provide guid- ance in this area, AC 150/5210-24 was released by the FAA in 2010. Although specific programs vary based on airport size and an airport's unique needs, these programs typically incorporate training, inspecting, detecting, removal, and documentation. Some airports even employ a FOD manager to promote the program and ensure a process of continuous improvement. This synthesis report details the components of a comprehensive FOD management program. Owing to the extraordinary annual expense associated with FOD, new technology has been developed to allow airports to continuously inspect for and detect FOD. In 2009, in response
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2 to this new technology, the FAA issued AC 150/5220-24, Foreign Object Debris Detection Equipment, addressing the requirements and standards for stationary radar, stationary electro- optical, stationary hybrid radar and electro-optical, and mobile radar. This synthesis report details each of these types of FOD detection systems. There is currently a wide variety of practices, techniques, and tools that airport operators use to conduct inspections for FOD, including wildlife, on the AOA. These methods range from a simple visual inspection to continuous monitoring technologies. This synthesis reviews and compiles current practices, techniques, and lists of tools available for use or those currently being used by airports for FOD inspections. The report is primarily intended for airport operators, including management and staff responsible for conducting inspections, detecting and removing FOD, documenting FOD, and overseeing a FOD management pro- gram, including promoting an awareness of FOD prevention among all personnel. This synthesis consists primarily of a literature-based review of self-inspection practices and regulations, as well as the current technologies that exist to detect and remove FOD. Sources for the literature review included the FAA, U.S.DOT, relevant studies and articles on self-inspections, FOD detection, prevention technologies, and the producers of FOD detection, removal, and prevention technologies and equipment. To supplement this literature review, two distinct questionnaires were developed specific to this project. First, 56 airport operators, including domestic, international, and military, were selected to receive a 42-item web-based questionnaire. With a response rate of 89%, valid data were obtained on all components of an airport FOD management program, which are pre- sented in detail in this report. In addition, 20 manufacturers and suppliers of technology and equipment for FOD management programs were surveyed using a 12-item web-based ques- tionnaire. Although only 35% (7) of the manufacturers and suppliers responded, data obtained from manufacturer and supplier websites and product literature, as well as survey responses, provided sufficient information on the various types of equipment and technology available for use by airports in inspecting for, detecting, removing, and documenting FOD. A summary of the findings from this synthesis, representing 50 airports throughout the United States and internationally, revealed that: · Almost two-thirds of airports have a FOD management program. · Most airports conduct inspections for FOD daily, relying on human/visual means. · Many airports also conduct FOD walks, typically either weekly, monthly, or annually. · Most airports detect FOD visually, with only some using fixed or mobile systems sup- porting either continuous or periodic surveillance. · In addition to manually removing FOD by hand, most airports also utilize mechanized systems (such as power sweepers or vacuum systems) to remove the debris, with some airports relying on jet air blowers to displace FOD. Of the non-mechanized systems, only magnetic bars are used by most airports. · Although most airports document FOD when it is removed, just over one-quarter of airports use an electronic database for documenting FOD. · Just over half of airports use FOD letters, notices, and/or bulletins to maintain FOD awareness among airport employees. · Less than one-fifth of airports employ a FOD manager. At half of the airports, respon- sibility for the FOD management program is carried out as part of an employee's exist- ing job duties. · To ensure the quality of their FOD management programs, most airports implement ini- tial and recurrent training, as well as management oversight. · During reduced visibility and nighttime conditions, only one-third of airports perform more frequent inspections to ensure effective FOD detection and removal. Almost half of airports have not implemented any additional measures during these conditions. · If resources were available to enhance an existing FOD management program, almost three- quarters of airports would acquire equipment or technology for detection and/or removal.