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25 CHAPTER FOUR REMOVAL Clearly, a critical aspect of any successful FOD manage- CURRENT EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE ment program includes the actual removal of debris from the FOR REMOVAL AOA. This involves removing FOD as expeditiously as pos- Removal Continuum sible without undue interference of airport operations, all the while considering the safety of the individual responsible for A number of solutions exist for the removal of FOD--ranging removing debris. from non-mechanized to mechanized. The continuum in Fig- ure 13 has been developed to present the range of options In developing a FOD removal plan, airports may wish to available to airports. consider: · Implementing a policy that conveys whom, when, how, Non-mechanized FOD Removal and with what equipment the removal of FOD shall take place. Of the two main types of FOD removal equipment, those cat- · The risk assessment process in FOD removal; especially, egorized as non-mechanized are simply attached to, or towed how this can be complimentary to an SMS plan. behind, a vehicle. These non-mechanized units are fairly · Implementation with sensitivity to the risk, traffic, and versatile, with the ability to be attached to a tug, airport oper- safety of everyone on the airport. ations vehicle, or maintenance truck. Because they are non- mechanized, they are less costly to operate and rarely out of The removal process can range from being fairly simple service as a result of mechanical issues. and straightforward to very complex and dangerous. For exam- ple, a luggage tag that finds its way on the apron surface can be immediately removed by the line crew, whereas a piece of Tow-behind Friction Mats metal that finds its way onto the runway, is another situation altogether. Furthermore, wildlife FOD may be removed by Within the non-mechanized category, there are several types personnel different than the personnel that removes other types of equipment. First, tow-behind friction mats utilize a series of debris, as a result of the oftentimes biohazard nature of of bristle brushes and friction to sweep FOD into sets of wildlife FOD. It is the duty of the airport operator to ensure capture scoops, which are covered by a retaining mesh to that this part of the process is conducted in the most profes- hold the collected debris. Figure 14 shows a tow-behind sional and conscientious way possible, considering aircraft friction mat. traffic and the location of FOD. Although each airline or tenant can be asked to keep their Magnetic Bars area free from FOD, it is ultimately the responsibility of the airport operator to mitigate FOD. To accomplish this, air- Magnetic bars are another non-mechanized piece of equip- ports may adopt manual, as well as mechanized, equipment ment available to airports for removing FOD. These bars removal. The most successful means for removing such are attached to vehicles and designed to collect metallic debris is with FOD removal equipment. This equipment is debris. With the majority of FOD collected at airports being available commercially and can be used in conjunction with metal, this piece of equipment is a simple solution to that manual removal methods. At the same time, however, the use specific FOD source. To ensure effectiveness, airports uti- of FOD removal equipment may lead to complacency. This lizing magnetic bars inspect and clean the bars regularly to may occur because the employee considers the equipment as remove all accumulated metallic debris. If not, once col- the primary tool for FOD removal, relying on it too heavily, lected, debris may fall off the vehicle and become FOD yet and becoming less engaged in the FOD removal process (see again. Figure 15 shows a magnetic bar attached to the front Figure 12). of a pick-up truck.
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26 FIGURE 12 FOD removed during one FOD walk at Kadena Air FIGURE 14 Tow-behind friction mat. Source: Sherwin Industries. Base, Japan. (Source: U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jarvie Wallace.) the operator to stop a vehicle at a designated checkpoint, per- Rumble Strips form a visual inspection for debris on the vehicle, and use a hand tool to manually remove debris from tires or undercar- Rumble strips, or FOD shakers, are the third type of non- riages. Figure 16 shows rumble strips in use on an asphalt road. mechanical equipment available for FOD removal. This system is comprised of 10- to 15-ft-long devices positioned Mechanized Foreign Object Debris Removal on the pavement to dislodge FOD from vehicles as they are driven over. Rumble strips can typically be moved as needed. Mechanized FOD removal can be more costly for an airport; According to Drew Lasseter, Guantanamo Bay Airfield Facil- however, many times the additional expense is justified by the ity Manager: enhanced efficiency provided by a mechanized unit. Proper maintenance is necessary to ensure successful operation with FOD shakers will not remove all FOD from tires. In many cases, it removes FOD, but in just as many cases it loosens it up enough that minimal breakdown of equipment. it becomes likely that the FOD will fly off while on the ramp. FOD shakers are never a substitute for human interaction (Peck 2010). Power Sweepers Additionally, in northern climates, the freeze/thaw cycle may degrade some types of rumble strips, thus creating FOD. Power sweepers, which include tow-behind bristle trailers, Although once quite common, these devices are no longer a first remove debris from the pavement. A true mechanical widely accepted FOD removal system. A better practice is for broom sweeper can clean the surface of large debris, but dirt FIGURE 13 Continuum of equipment available for removal.
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27 FIGURE 15 Magnetic bar. Source: The F.O.D. Control Corporation. and fine particulates may be remain on the surface and in pavement cracks. These units are typically used throughout the airfield on pavement surfaces, as well as on ramp areas where ground support equipment is staged. According to AC 150/5210-24, bristles can detach from brooms and become a source of FOD (FAA 2010a). Therefore, metal bristles or spines should not be used for FOD removal purposes. Plastic FIGURE 17 Self-propelled, walk-behind sweeper. Source: or combination plastic/metal bristles may be appropriate for Digital Commons. airports depending on the equipment manufacturer recom- mendations. Regardless of the equipment used, a thorough visual check of the pavement should be conducted at the con- clusion of the sweeping procedure (FAA 2010a). Figure 17 shows a self-propelled, walk-behind sweeper, while Figure 18 shows a sweeper attached to a tractor. Figure 19 shows a sweeper truck. FIGURE 18 Sweeper attachment. Source: Digital Commons. FIGURE 19 Sweeper truck. Source: Digital Commons. FIGURE 16 Rumble strips. Source: A.J. Broom Road Products.
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28 FIGURE 22 Vacuum with mechanical broom and regenerative air feature. Source: Tymco. of high velocity air toward the pavement surface. Techni- cally, these systems do not remove FOD, they simply dis- place it. Although a jet air blower may not contain a debris collection mechanism, it is beneficial to only acquire jet air blowers that incorporate a debris collection mechanism to avoid blowing FOD to other areas. One jet air blower cur- rently on the market is capable of blasting ambient air with speeds of up to 438 mph. The manufacturer states that this is FIGURE 20 Walk-behind vacuum. Source: Mid Carolina Turf effective in removing ice, dirt, snow, leaves, and other debris and Outdoor Equipment. (see Figure 23). Vacuum Systems Foreign Object Debris Storage Next, vacuum systems rely on air flow as the primary means of Lastly, although not categorized as FOD removal equipment, removing FOD. Although a unit may only contain a vacuum, containers for the purpose of storing collected FOD are bene- which may be walk-behind (Figure 20) or driven (Figure 21), ficial for a FOD management program and the final step in the airports often utilize a unit that combines a vacuum system with removal process. By ensuring that storage systems or FOD a mechanical broom and/or a regenerative or recirculating air containers are easily seen and visible from all gates for the pur- feature (Figure 22). By utilizing a constantly moving windrow pose of gathering debris, as well as marked appropriately and broom to transfer debris over to a suction nozzle at one side of emptied regularly to guard against any overflow, the contain- the sweeper, debris are removed by means of a suction tube. ers are more likely to be used. The FAA also suggests that airport employees wear "pouches" to collect any debris they might come in contact with while conducting their respective Jet Air Blowers duties. Although five-gallon buckets are common at many air- ports, the FAA recommends that FOD containers have covers The final option in using mechanized equipment to remove FOD is with jet air blowers. These systems direct a stream FIGURE 21 Vacuum truck. Source: Tymco. FIGURE 23 Jet air blower. Source: RPM Tech.