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19 CHAPTER THREE DETECTION The second component of a comprehensive FOD management FOD; devices that can make the detection of debris much program involves detection. Clearly, if upon inspection there easier for airport operators. Most FOD technology currently is no debris, then no FOD will be detected, thus eliminating being promoted to airports is focused on the detection of this step. If, however, debris exists on the AOA, it should be FOD. This focus on detection is well-deserved, because with detected. Indeed, the most critical aspect of any FOD manage- only one or two manual inspections per day at many airports ment program is the actual detection of debris. If FOD that there is considerable opportunity to enhance the ability to exists is not detected by the airport employee, there will be no detect FOD. Many of the manufacturers of detection technol- opportunity for the subsequent removal or documentation ogy promote a 95% or better detection rate under all weather of the debris. Time is perhaps the most crucial aspect of the conditions with 24/7 operation. This track record is not pos- detection phase of the FOD management program. As seen in sible with a manual inspection and detection system. the case of the Concorde accident, a piece of FOD can become present on an airport's surface at any time, resulting in a seri- In addition, some of the FOD detection technology on the ous accident if not promptly detected and removed. Therefore, market serves multiple purposes. For instance, modern sen- it may be insufficient to simply inspect for FOD at certain sors may detect wildlife. FOD detection systems may also to times of the day. A continuous monitoring system does much some degree provide surveillance of the AOA. In essence, to assist the airport in detecting FOD at any point in the day. FOD detection technology is intrusion technology, alerting Even so, several types of inspections exist and, ultimately, the personnel to foreign objects (including wildlife and possibly most important objective is the detection of FOD, whether this personnel) on the AOA. However, the application of these occurs manually through regular inspections or with automa- systems for these additional uses has not been approved by the tion through continuous monitoring equipment. FAA. Therefore, more research will be needed in this area in the future. Even considering personnel and training costs, manual detection of FOD may be a less expensive detection method In an effort to inform airport operators of the available than other options. Indeed, manual detection is an impor- systems for FOD detection, the FAA has developed AC tant part of any FOD management program, whether or not 150/5220-24, Foreign Object Debris Detection Equipment. that program includes the use of FOD detection technology This AC summarizes the major types of FOD detection sys- or equipment. Effective manual detection of FOD relies tems (FAA 2009a). As seen in Table 2, these include both heavily on personnel employed at the airport to regularly manual and automated systems. monitor their surroundings to detect the presence of debris. This includes personnel performing the daily self-inspection, Detection Continuum monitoring of construction activities, working on the ter- minal or ramps, attending gates, handling baggage, fueling In using these systems identified by the FAA, and based on aircraft, piloting aircraft, and controlling air traffic, as well as findings from this synthesis, a continuum was developed show- anyone who works on the AOA. Most commonly, a manual ing the degree of automation present in the various types of inspection for FOD is carried out by an airport employee (such FOD detection technology and equipment. It can be noted that as an operations employee) as part of a daily self-inspection. the continuum is driven by the differing capabilities of the tech- As discussed in chapter two, such inspections involve multiple nology (see Figure 9). passes of runways and taxiways, usually in a vehicle, with the employee visually inspecting for, and hopefully detecting, any existing debris. Manual Foreign Object Debris Detection Just as with the inspection stage, the FOD detection stage also CURRENT EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY has a manual option. Whether proactively, involving an airport AVAILABLE FOR DETECTION employee driving a vehicle on the airfield and detecting FOD Detection Equipment and Technology during a self-inspection, or reactively, with FOD first being detected by a pilot or ATC, the manual detection of FOD has In addition to manual methods, various forms of technology been in use at airports for decades. Although the human eye are currently available to aid the airport operator in detecting may not detect very small debris or have difficulty discerning

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20 TABLE 2 SUMMARY OF FOD DETECTION SYSTEMS System Detection Principles Capability Human/Visual Fundamental baseline for the performance of FOD Supports regularly scheduled, detection systems. Human observation provides periodic condition, and special detection and human judgment provides the inspections hazard assessment capability to assure safety. Radar Uses radio transmission data as the primary means Fixed systems support continuous to detect FOD on runways and AOA surfaces. surveillance; mobile systems supplement human/visual inspections Electro-optical Uses video technology and image processing data Supports continuous surveillance as the primary means to detect FOD on runways and AOA surfaces. Hybrid Uses a combination of radar and electro-optical Supports continuous surveillance data as the primary means to detect FOD on runways and AOA surfaces. Adapted from AC 150/5220-24 (FAA 2009a). debris during reduced visibility or minimal contrast condi- inspection vehicle or at a fixed location (typically a termi- tions, manual detection can be effective with properly trained nal building). A camera mounted on an inspection vehicle may employees having a keen eye for foreign objects on the air- be a Forward Looking Infrared to enable more accurate detec- field. Furthermore, McCreary (2010) presents findings that tion of FOD during nighttime and low visibility conditions. indicate that there is little debris below a size of 0.8 in. and Fixed location cameras are manually controlled and may be weight of 0.07 ounces, or 2 cm/2 gram, typically present. used to scan the airfield. Cameras are oftentimes most effec- tive once FOD has been reported, as they allow the opera- tor to zoom in on the FOD to verify its location and type, Supplemental Foreign Object Debris Detection providing additional information to personnel responding to the FOD. Located between manual and automated detection on the con- tinuum, technology-assisted manual detection can be used to supplement human ability in detecting FOD. Typically in Automated Foreign Object Debris Detection the form of cameras, the effectiveness of inspections can be enhanced by supplementing the visual observation con- Automated FOD detection systems can be more expensive ducted by airport personnel. A camera can be mounted on an than manual methods, but may also prove more effective. In FIGURE 9 Continuum of technology and equipment available for detection.

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21 the report, Runway Safety, Insight SRI, a provider of auto- mated detection technology, explains: Indirect Benefits: Allow airport to actively control their risk profile (same . . . Properly applied, the technologies of automated runway scan- risk applied to all flights) ning (ARS) represent a major opportunity for both airlines and airports. The opportunity is not only to improve safety, but to Fewer delays means lower carbon emissions improve the bottom line to the tune of millions of dollars. Curi- Reduce total manpower (over time) as systems roll out. ously, it is an opportunity that has been consistently and expen- sively overlooked for almost a decade (McCreary 2010, p. 23). Longer Term Benefits Flexible decision making by tower and airport Specifically, data from Vancouver International Airport New methods to reduce delays and minimize inefficiencies (the first airport in the world to adopt automated detection Add new network capacity technology) show that FOD is detected on the runways, on Preserve existing airport runway capacity average, once every two days. This, according to McCreary Reduce operational variability (2010), is a sixtyfold improvement over airports relying only Sustain operational tempo on visual inspections, where debris are typically found once Low visibility operations every two months. Therefore, depending on the size of the Add new airport runway capacity airport, the degree of the debris problem, and the resources Reduce runway closure times Improve punctuality and time of entry into the en route available, automated FOD detection systems may be a valid system option. Allows for an international, standardized approach to safety and hazard management Rather than being used in isolation, automated systems, Major improvements in safety data recording and risk such as those offering continuous surveillance, are designed management. to augment manual detection strategies, such as periodic visual inspections. This is an important supplement, as inspection Source: McCreary 2010, p. 207 personnel may only know the status of FOD on a runway 0.5% of the time when solely relying on manual detection of FOD (B. Patterson, personal communication, 2010). It can be noted, however, that these systems are automated, rather than Radar automatic. Although many of these automated systems are The first type of automated system utilizes radar, typically continuous, the systems do require human interface to inter- in the form of millimeter-wave radar. This technology uses pret system output. extremely high frequency in the range of 30 to 300 gigahertz (GHz). This band has a wavelength of ten to one millimeter, Although some in the industry (such as McCreary) advo- giving it the name millimeter band or millimeter wave. Cur- cate the adoption of automated FOD detection technologies rently, there are both fixed and mobile systems that incorpo- by airports, the technology remains relatively new and is not rate millimeter-wave radar. A mobile system currently on the currently widely utilized. For instance, in 2005 the first auto- market contains radar that incorporates a 7881 GHz sensor mated runway scanning system was installed at Vancouver mounted on a reciprocating platform on top of the vehicle that International Airport in Canada. Four years later, in 2009, allows the scanning of a field of approximately 80 degrees in the FAA approved the four technologies then on the market front of the vehicle. The antenna tilt is fixed in relation to the for Airport Improvement Program fund eligibility. By 2010, vehicle, scanning at the rate of 30 scans per minute and pro- however, only six airports throughout the world had adopted viding a detection distance in front of the vehicle of approx- automated scanning systems (McCreary 2010). As explained imately 650 ft with a detection "cell" of approximately one by McCreary (2010, p. 31), "Neither the regulators, the air- square yard. The system also features a high-quality GPS that lines, nor the airports have collected the statistics required to can be calibrated to reach near differential GPS accuracy and make a strong case for automated scanning." a photographic system that is coordinated with the system software to provide images of detected FOD ("FOD Finder" n.d.; Patterson 2008). Benefits of Automated FOD Detection A fixed system currently on the market uses a combina- tion of sensor technology and advanced digital signal pro- Direct Benefits: cessing to automate FOD detection. Millimeter-wave radar is Detect, find, and identify FOD or other runway hazards used to give uninterrupted coverage of the runway, while Improve operational safety object identification is enabled by a powerful day and night Reduce airline operating costs camera system cued onto the object automatically. The radar Reduce airport operating costs is accurate at distances of up to 0.6 mile. With this radar scan- Provide uniform risk exposure for all movements. ning technology, an entire runway can be covered by just two to three units (Patterson 2008).