Sunday, July 21, 2019
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How to Efficiently Control Airfield FOD

Foreign Object Debris, FOD, is a common cause of damages, injuries, and accidents. This necessitates the need for adequate control. It can significantly reduce airfield maintenance costs. This post looks at the four critical parts of FOD control paying particular attention to maintenance.

  1. Training

It is the foundation of any proper prevention program. Training is a perpetual process that goes beyond the first orientation offered when one is new on the job. The recurring training should focus the following:

  • Identification of FOD
  • Elimination of  FOD
  • The possible effects of ignoring FOD

It should regularly be conducted as the management finds necessary and mostly when new technology or airport sweepers are being introduced.

  1. Inspection

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, inspection of the airfield is a daily routine. The identified FOD should be removed promptly. For effective control and prevention, the checks should be carried out at regular intervals throughout the day.

  1. Coordination

Coordination is a horizontal management practice. It involves different airlines and airports coordinating their FOD control measures at a local level. The aim of this is to share the best practices and create ways of improving their debris identification and elimination.

  1. Maintenance

It is the heart of FOD prevention and control. Efficient maintenance involves three vital components:

  • FOD Cleaning

FOD cleaning consists of scrubbing and sweeping the runway, taxiways, and ramps. General work areas should also be cleaned and kept free from FOD. The cleaning schedule should be appropriately documented for easy coordination. Each airfield personnel should be assigned specific areas of the airport and be held responsible for the state of their areas of jurisdiction.

Aircraft gates and hard standing positions should be inspected for foreign objects before every departure or flight arrival. Additionally, FOD containers should frequently be emptied, usually 2 to 3 times per week.

  • Emergency repairs

Another maintenance activities that should be carried out as part of the maintenance schedule is the ability to perform repairs as soon as they are necessary. Some problems that may require immediate attention include broken paving, cracks, and holes. They can significantly increase the amount of FOD if left open.

Most FODs result from the negligence of proper housekeeping and use of inappropriate or old equipment. Continuous training will keep the involved persons posted on the effect of their action and their responsibilities towards controlling foreign object debris.

FOD control is an undertaking that should be carried out diligently by all stakeholders. Old inefficient sweepers should be replaced with new airport sweepers. The business owner should take responsibility and oversee the implementation of the cleaning schedule. Audit reports and FOD surveys can also be used to create awareness of the need to take individual responsibility towards FOD control.