FOD Inspections 101
Foreign object debris (FOD) remains an ongoing concern for airlines and airport operators. The FAA defines FOD as:
"any object, live or not, located in an inappropriate location in the airport environment that has the capacity to injure airport or air carrier personnel and damage aircraft."
That includes airplane parts like nuts, bolts, as well as building fragments, pieces of luggage, dead wildlife, rocks, construction material, paint chips and sand that end up in aircraft, aircraft hangers, and on runways. Any of these items can risk passenger safety and cause damage to aircraft. So, the FAA recommends airlines and airport operators create a FOD program that includes logging foreign objects and taking the appropriate steps to remove debris quickly and safely.
Why is FOD Such a Problem?
Foreign objects can cause all kinds of destruction to aircraft. For example, if debris punctures a plane's tires on a runway, it can put passenger safety at risk if technicians don't identify the problem before take-off.
FOD can be expensive, too. Damage to aircraft from foreign objects can cost millions of dollars to airlines to have the repair works done. Sometimes, these airlines might hold an airport operator responsible for financial losses if they didn't identify the debris. Boeing estimates that damage from foreign debris costs the aviation and aerospace sectors about $4 billion every year. That's because the cost to purchase replacement aircraft components can be much more than when the manufacturer made the vehicle. Other costs associated with FOD include additional work for airline staff and flight credits and hotel rooms issued to customers because of canceled and delayed flights.
What is a FOD Inspection?
Airport operators should conduct FOD inspections before any aircraft takes flight and log all information in a safe place. The FAA might want to examine this information in the future.
The FAA also recommends operators carry out inspections during daylight where possible and look out for FOD in areas such as runways, parking gates, and outside airfield buildings. If airport personnel identify FOD on runways, they should report this to station operators or air traffic control immediately. Depending on the foreign object, airports might have to suspend runway operations until they resolve the problem.
How to Optimize FOD Maintenance
FOD maintenance doesn't just involve regular inspections of runways, aircraft, and aircraft hangers. Airport operators should ensure employees such as technicians and maintenance crew know how to identify foreign objects and remove them safely. Using software to log FOD training can guarantee the right employees receive the correct information about foreign objects at an airport. Migrating FOD data from an existing system to an all-in-one airport operations maintenance system, for example, will centralize this information and make it easier to share data with the relevant department in your airport.
You must communicate the importance of identifying and removing FOD to all employees involved in aircraft operations. Foreign objects can pose a significant safety risk not just to passengers but to airport personnel.
How Can Software Help FOD Inspections?
FOD logging requires a great deal of paperwork. Technicians and ground staff need to identify a foreign object, categorize it correctly, assess the risk it poses, and detail the steps they took to remove the object. Airports, therefore, need a centralized system for all FOD reports so they can streamline this ever-important task.
The best software for FOD logging generates real-time reports that help airport managers identify the biggest causes of foreign objects and the most common locations for debris. With this intelligence, airports can improve operations and reduce future risks.
Aerosimple is a powerful Part 139-approved airport operations management system that automates FOD logging. It offers other features that digitize operations management tasks such as airfield inspections, landside inspections, and operation logging. With Aerosimple, you can identify recurring FOD issues on airfields, eliminate paperwork, spend less time organizing documentation, and access reports in real-time.
Other Aerosimple benefits include no setup fees, free lifetime software upgrades, unlimited users, unlimited modules (with an annual subscription), an iOS/Android app, and world-class customer service.
FOD logging is one of the most critical airport operations tasks because it can potentially save lives. Using software for FOD monitoring removes all the paperwork typically associated with this task and improves safety, compliance, and data sharing. By investing in an airport operations management system for FOD logging, you can quickly identify foreign objects on runways and at airfield buildings and hangars.
Aerosimple Also Offers Data Migration Services
If you already manage FOD logging through an existing system, Aerosimple can help you migrate your data to its new platform. It's one of the only FOD monitoring solutions that offer data migration services. Now you push critical information seamlessly from one location to another without data loss or lots of downtime.