An accumulation of foreign object debris (FOD) on a runway can have devastating consequences. The debris may be due to insufficient staff training, weather, poorly maintained aircraft and buildings. Managing such objects can be an uphill task without equipment such as a FOD sweeper.
Below are some recommended FOD control techniques you should know to keep your airport safe.
Some airports have FOD management team. Usually, members address various airport operation challenges. Airports with numerous airlines need to have such teams. They help in coordinating multiple FOD control activities.
All airport users need to have clear communication regarding scheduled maintenance and ongoing construction projects. An airport preconstruction plan should include ways to contain and control construction generated FOD. It’s vital in areas experiencing high wind velocities as debris may become airborne. Moreover, access to construction sites should be away from aircraft operation venues. It’s necessary for contractors to understand all penalties and requirements included in their contracts.
Airline and airport personnel need to inspect all runways airport frequently. It’s crucial for them to work together. The practice enables them to get accustomed to prevailing airfield conditions. It enhances communication between airlines and the airport.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommends a daily inspection of all aircraft operation sites and the elimination of FOD. Airport personnel are required to perform frequent assessments during the day. Moreover, they are expected to search for FOD while working. The staff is expected to thoroughly inspect on-going construction to remove any construction materials on the runway.
Experts maintain airports using different methods including:
- Sweeping: Sweep runways manually or using FOD sweeper. It removes debris present in cracks and joints. It’s advisable to use the sweeper in most places except those reachable easily with a broom. Aprons, aircraft maneuvering areas, and gates need frequent sweeping.
- Magnetic bars: You may suspend magnetic bars under trucks or tugs to collect metallic debris. You need to regularly clean the bars as they may drop these wastes over time. A period inspection of all airside vehicles is necessary to remove any loose items that may fall off.
An airport’s management is expected to offer adequate training to airline and airport staff on how to identify and eliminate FOD. Incorporating it into their driver-training curriculum is necessary. Furthermore, using signs and posters help in demonstrating various FOD control techniques.
Aircraft engineers recommend using aFOD sweeper when cleaning runways. It helps in removing both large and small debris which might damage aircrafts. It’s vital to perform routine cleaning during the day.
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