Foreign object debris, or FOD, is a danger on any runway. While the chance of FOD causing a catastrophic accident is low, it is possible, and it is every airport’s worst nightmare because these accidents are very preventable. An airport sweeper is your best friend when it comes to getting rid of FOD.
While runways and taxiways are inspected frequently, runway sweepers keep dirt and debris away. Sweepers like an FOD Boss, with a synthetic mat that can be attached to any vehicle, will remove any and all types of debris from the tarmac. These synthetic mats are perfect for taxiways, where maneuverability can be challenging for larger vehicles. Attach the mat to a pickup truck or golf cart and clean up. An airport sweeper will keep the pavement in good condition.
Foreign object debris
FOD includes any unusual items found on runways or taxiways. Anything larger than a small rock or a stick is considered FOD. This could include things like pieces of broken pavement, loose parts from planes, pens, change, drink cans or bottles, pieces of trash, broken pieces of luggage, nuts and bolts, and even sand. Basically, anything found on the tarmac needs to be removed in order to ensure safe flights.
If any type of debris is sucked into the engines on a jet airplane it can cause damage. These engines have many moving parts. If debris were to enter the engine, it could be expelled at an increase trajectory speed as it exits the engines, which can be dangerous. Examples of FOD damage to engines include bent or broken fan blades, engine fires or failure, punctures to the fuselage or hull, and even wing damage.
Other areas where FOD can damage planes include the tires. If an object is picked up by the tires, it could then be ejected and hit the underside of the plane, where the fuselage is located, and where the fuel tanks are found.
FOD damage can cost airlines millions of dollars each year. These costs include repair or replacement of airplane parts, canceled or delayed flights, labor, and liability if injuries are incurred.
Preventing FOD damage
The best way to prevent damage from FOD is to keep the tarmac clean. Removing FOD regularly throughout the day is an effective way to keep people safe and airplanes in good working order.
One of the best, most effective airport sweepers is the FOD*BOSS. This runway sweeper uses a mat attached to the back of any vehicle to sweep debris from the runway or taxiway. As the mat moves over the tarmac it collects debris and deposits it into capture zones. It picks up all types of FOD and even works on wet surfaces.