Most airports and airlines are very concerned about foreign object debris (FOD) and its impact on equipment and employees. Every year, FOD causes damage that costs airports and airlines millions of dollars every single year. In fact, FOD causes $4 billion in damages within the aerospace industry every year. Any object that should not be near or in an airplane is considered FOD.
Foreign object debris not only damages airplanes and other equipment, but it can also injure airport and airline personnel. Therefore, FOD removal is a huge priority for airports and airlines. Using equipment like runway sweepers are one way airports and airlines keep FOD under control. Here are some of the advantages of runway sweepers.
What Are Runway Sweepers?
Runway sweepers refer to a piece of equipment that is intended to remove debris on the runways of an airport. Such equipment is specifically designed and manufactured to remove FOD. Loose hardware, pieces of broken luggage, wildlife, catering supplies, sand, rocks, building supplies, and pavement fragments are all examples of FOD. Not only can FOD be found on runways, but it can also be found on cargo aprons, run-up pads, terminal gates, and taxiways.
If FOD on the runway makes direct contact with the airplane, it can extensive damage. For example, FOD like glass can slice up the tires of an airplane. The engines of an airplane may ingest foreign object debris. Jet blasts can cause injuries and damage by blowing FOD around.
Sweeping is one way that FOD is removed from runways. Staff members can perform sweeping manually or they can use a runway sweeper. Undoubtedly, using a runway sweeper is considered the best method for eliminating FOD from runways. Very few, if any, areas of a runway cannot be accessed by a runway sweeper.
Other Methods of FOD Removal
Of course, the use of runway sweepers is not the only method of FOD removal for airplanes and airlines. Some other methods for FOD removal include the following:
- Magnetic bars are another example of equipment that is used to remove FOD. These magnetic bars can be placed underneath tugs and trucks to attract metallic material. As long as the bars are cleaned regularly, this equipment is very effective for FOD removal. However, if the metallic bars aren’t cleaned regularly, they will drop the collected FOD.
- Airports and airlines place FOD containers near gates to collect FOD. These containers must be emptied regularly to prevent overflowing, which can lead to the dispersal of FOD rather than the removal.
FOD removal saves airports and airlines millions of dollars every year. Runway sweepers are just one example of equipment used to remove FOD in airports before it causes substantial damage to airplanes or injuries to employees.