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23 Automated - fixed 6% Automated - mobile 28% Manual 100% FIGURE 10 Systems in use to detect FOD. Note: Participants were asked to select all that apply. Thus, percentages do not total 100%. CURRENT AIRPORT DETECTION PRACTICES continuous surveillance. Just over 14% use a mobile system to support periodic surveillance. Systems in Use When queried as to the type of systems in use to detect FOD Procedures in Place for Foreign Object Debris Detected by Others at participating airports, 100% of respondents indicated they used a manual system, such as human or visual detection Although it remains the airport operator's responsibility to (Figure 10). Clearly, this is the most common method identi- properly detect and remove FOD, oftentimes, owing to the fied by respondents for detecting FOD at airports. At Part 139 nature of airport operations and the timing of FOD inspec- airports, daily airfield inspections are required, and during tions, debris may be detected by someone other than the air- these inspections airport personnel also inspect for, and hope- port operator, such as a pilot or the ATC. If debris were fully detect, any FOD on the airfield. However, some air- detected by someone other than the airport operator, partici- ports have also adopted additional systems to detect FOD. pants were queried about the procedures they had in place. Specifically, 6% of participants use a fixed system to support As can be seen in Figure 11, 31% of participating airports No formal procedures exist 4% Letter of agreement with ATCT 31% Redirect traffic 49% Advise pilots 51% Close, or restrict activity in, affected 59% areas Notify airport operator 84% FIGURE 11 Procedures if FOD detected by others. Note: Participants were asked to select all that apply. Thus, percentages do not total 100%.

OCR for page 23
24 actually have a Letter of Agreement in place with the ATC might indicate some degree of consideration of the various for these instances. The vast majority (84%) expect the ATC types of technology and equipment on the market today for to notify the airport operator if FOD is discovered. At that time detecting FOD. the airport would dispatch personnel to immediately remove the debris. Approximately half of the participating airports (1) close, or restrict activity in, affected areas; (2) redirect Airports with Technology and Equipment in Use for Detecting Foreign Object Debris traffic; and (3) advise pilots. In essence, by ensuring that the airport operator is advised as soon as FOD is discovered, air- Only two participating airports (4% of respondents) indicated craft can be prevented from operating in an area where debris they currently use some sort of technology or equipment for are present until it is properly removed. detecting FOD. Both airports utilize systems combining mil- limetric wave radar with an optical zoom camera system for Investigation into Detection Technology automated runway FOD detection, location, and alerting. One and Equipment airport uses a tower-based system, the other a ground-based system. Likely, these results are indicative of airports nation- In an effort to determine the degree of airport interest in tech- wide; with the vast majority not yet having acquired advanced nology and equipment for the detection of FOD, partici- technology for detecting debris (McCreary 2010). pants were asked if they had investigated the various types of technology and equipment available for such detection. Of the airports participating in the synthesis survey, 41% Vancouver International Airport, in early 2006, became the answered in the negative, whereas 33% indicated they had first airport in the world to acquire the Tarsier FOD radar indeed investigated the various options available. Addition- detection system from QinetiQ. Airport officials acquired the ally, 27% of respondents had "somewhat" investigated the system with the hope of improving airport safety by accu- options available. rately detecting FOD between self-inspections. Four Tarsier radar units were installed at Vancouver, one at each end of the northsouth parallel runways. A display unit, installed in the Airports Without Technology and Equipment in Use operations center, provides the airport operations team with for Detecting Foreign Object Debris an all-weather, 24/7 runway picture. By providing staff with Airports were also asked if they currently use any technology coordinates of FOD, and by entering these coordinates into or equipment (such as radar or electro-optical sensors), in a GPS navigation system, operations personnel are able to quickly and accurately locate and retrieve the debris. addition to the manual system in use, for detecting FOD. The vast majority (96%) answered no. When asked if they had Source: plans to acquire, in the next 24 months, any technology or Airlines_Airports_and_Services/Runway_Security_and_Safety/ equipment for detecting FOD, 65% of these same airports QinetiQ_-_Tarsier_FOD_radar_detection_system.asp indicated they had no plans. However, 27% were unsure, which