FOD News Roundup – June 3rd, 2016

Is the F-18 Safer than the F-35?

The fighter wars are raging again, only this time in the press room instead of the skies. Boeing’s chief F/A-18 Super Hornet test pilot makes his case for the two-engine fighter being less vulnerable to catastrophic FOD incidents than the single-engine F-35 Lightning.

Image credit: Royal Canadian Air Force


AI vs. FOD

There’s another player in the global aviation market for FOD detection sensors. ArgosAI Technology, based in Ankara, Turkey, has developed an artificial intelligence system that analyzes images of runway debris, then transmits the data to airport staff for action.

Image © Alper Cuğun. Some rights reserved.


Shadowing FOD

QA inspectors at the Shaw Air Force Base's 20th Fighter Wing do more than just look for debris in their F-16CM Fighting Falcons. They also shadow the aircraft’s maintainers, watching for noncompliant behavior that can lead to unsafe work habits.

Image Credit: A1C Destinee Dougherty, USAF

Video: F-15 Engine

Watch this fascinating video of an Air Force sergeant describing the inner workings and sucking power of an F-15 Eagle engine.

Image credit: Screenshot


New FOD Slideshow

Aviation Week’s new photo slideshow on the dangers of FOD features concise information on safety issues and several potential solutions. It also features two of our equipment lines, the FOD-Razor™ Airport Runway Sweeper and the 55-Gallon Drum Conversion kit.

Image credit: The FOD Control Corporation


Hazmat Storage

The FOD Control Corporation now supplies hazardous materials storage equipment! From indoor chemical cabinets to outdoor safety lockers to 55-gallon drum sheds, we will keep your facility safe.

Image Credit: The FOD Control Corporation

FOD News Roundup – May 3rd, 2016

Fatal Crash May Have Involved Bird Strike

Investigators have discovered eagle residue on a Cessna 172 that crashed near Birchwood Airport in Alaska, killing the pilot, a retired National Transportation Safety Administration investigator, and three other occupants.

Image Credit:US FWS


Video: Ramp Worker Safety

Harrisburg International Airport has a fun 2-plus minute video demonstrating proper ramp procedures for vehicle, baggage and other employees working around commercial aircraft..

Image: Screen shot.


Pothole Shuts Down Major Runway

Airlines and their passengers experienced delays of over an hour when an aircraft dislodged chunks from a runway at LaGuardia Airport, creating an opening large enough to fit a person.

Image © Patrick Handigan. Some rights reserved.


Ocean Freight Sees Increase in Fuel FOD

Environmental regulations requiring ships to use low-sulphur fuel is damaging their engines. The culprits are tiny metallic particles called “Cat fines” used in the fuel refining process.

Image credit: US EPA


NEW! FOD Control Corp. Supplies Hazmat Equipment

Ready to improve your hazardous materials safety program? We are expanding our product catalog with fire-rated outdoor lockers, indoor chemical cabinets, drum sheds, and temporary fuel-spill berms.

Image © Justrite Mfg. Co, LLC. All Rights Reserved..

FOD News Roundup – February 4, 2016

News Report: Airport Remains Open Despite FOD

January 24, 2016: The runway at Bauerfield International Airport (IATA: VLI, ICAO: NVVV) in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has deteriorated to the point that some airlines have halted flights, according to a report by Newshub. Airport authorities have commenced short-term solutions, such as daily sweeping, to collect debris formed from loose pieces of tarmac. Read more...

Bauerfield International Airport, Vanuatu

Bauerfield IAP. Image Copyright © Julie Lyn. Some rights reserved.


White Paper: Comparing Airport Sweeper Technologies

January 4, 2016: There is no “one size fits all” single best technology for sweeping foreign object debris (FOD) from broad airport surface areas such as runways, taxiways, ramps and aprons, in all circumstances. So, instead of looking for the best sweeper available, focus instead on acquiring the most appropriate solution for your specific FOD control program. Read more...

FOD-Razor™ Triplex Version

Image Copyright © The FOD Control Corporation. All rights reserved.


News Report: Dead Deer vs. Aircraft

February 1, 2016: Hunters kill deer for food. Deer remains wash ashore near Sitka Rock Gutierrez Airport (SIT). Birds flock to the airport to dine on the remains. You can imagine how this can affect runway safety, so airport officials need to be extra vigilant during subsistence hunting season in Alaska, according to this article by KTOO Public Media. (Warning: graphic images) Read more...

Sitka Airport, Alaska

Sitka Airport. Image Copyright © James Brooks. Some rights reserved.


FOD Education: Tool Room Assessment Checklist

February 1, 2016: Tracking and inventorying tools in a FOD-sensitive environment can take away precious time from your core mission activities. Here's a handy guide to help you speed up the process, get better organized and prevent lost items from damaging equipment and endangering lives. Read more...

Old Messy Workshop

Image Copyright © Unsplash. CC0 public domain license.


News Report: Automated Detection System

December 8, 2015: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has installed a new FOD detection system for its recently-reconstructed center runway, according to a public statement by the Port of Seattle. Developed by the Israeli firm Xsight Systems, it utilizes image and radar processing algorithms to scan for debris and birds. Read more...

FOD Detect

Image courtesy of Xsight Systems.

FOD News Roundup – October 10, 2015

Military Helicopter Problems

October 9: According to the US Navy, FOD causes most of the engine failures aboard the heavy Sea Dragon and Super Stallion military helicopters, which are in service in the US Navy, the US Marine Corps and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Super Stallion Helicopter

Image Credit: United States Navy


Finding Invisible FOD

September 17: The US Air Force's 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron uses x-ray machines for "nondestructive" inspections of F-15E Strike Eagles and other warplanes, searching deep within the aircraft for hidden foreign object debris.
"It's the quickest and most effective way to look ... without tearing the aircraft apart."
380EMS X-ray Machine

Image Credit: Tech Sgt Christopher Boitz, USAF


Bird Strike Science

September 8: Modelling the physics of avian collisions is a must for anyone trying to design aircraft structures that can still fly safely immediately after such an incident, according to Chris Jones, VP for aerospace and defence at Cyient.
"Working out a single, overarching approach to impact simulation first requires a comparative assessment of the three most common current methods of modelling..."
Bird Srike on Wing

When the Rubber Meets the Load

August 31: The US Air Force's 62nd Airlift Wing had a problem. Their cargo pallets kept falling apart, spreading nails, wood chunks and other debris across the AOA. Thousands of dollars blew away in the wind every time they had to built a new pallet. Then they hit on a solution:
"[We] know of a local rock quarry ... that had worn out tires from their earth movers that they needed to get rid of..."
Cargo Pallets

Image Credit: Staff Sgt Katie Jackson, USAF


Announcing Our New Runway Sweeper!

The FOD Control Corporation proudly announces the release of its new airport runway sweeper, the FOD-Razor™. This is a USA-manufactured, high-quality, lower-priced version of the popular friction mat sweeper that collects over 95% of everything it its path and is so portable that you can transport it in a pickup truck or small helicopter. Visit us online to learn more!
The FOD-Razor™ Airport Runway Sweeper (Triplex Version)

The FOD-Razor™ Airport Runway Sweeper (Triplex Version)

FOD News Roundup – August 31, 2015

Dangerous Bubble Wrap

August 14: A Boeing 777 made an emergency landing at London's Heathrow Airport after a gradual accumulation of bubble wrap, wire and insulation blocked an air duct, leading to a failure of the cockpit's oxygen system. Neglect FOD control and it will build up over time.
bubble wrap

Image Credit: Lynn Greyling


Did Cockpit FOD Destroy a Fighter?

July 31: Investigators believe that an improperly stored checklist probably affected the controls of a Greek F-16 fighter jet, causing it to plunge to the ground shortly after takeoff in January, killing nine people.
Hellenic F-16

Image Credit: SSgt Thomas Tower, US Air Force


Bird Strike DID Destroy Another Fighter

August 18: A flock of birds caused a Mirage F1 fighter jet from the Royal Moroccan Air Force to crash during a landing operation. The pilot ejected and survived.

Royal Moroccan Mirage F-1

Image Credit: Aminovich


All Hail the FOD

August 8: A hailstorm over the Great Plains of the central United States shattered the nose cone and cracked the windshields of an Airbus A320 on a Delta flight from Boston to Salt Lake City, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Denver.
Airbus A320

Image Credit: Alf Van Beem


Disaster Cleanups

August 13: The US Air National Guard usually collects FOD from its flight areas and shops. Now, the 109th Airlift Wing has a new mission: Deploy its new "debris clearance team" to disaster zones with chainsaws, skid steers, rakes and shovels to clear blocked roads, helping first responders and power companies to reach their destinations.
109 AW Disaster Cleanup Team

Image Credit: New York Air National Guard


Skinning a B-52

August 5: Barksdale Air Force Base's 2nd Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight helps to keep the B-52 fleet free of FOD by maintaining the integrity of the venerable Stratofortress' metal skin and bones.
Barksdale AFB Sheet Metal

Image Credit: SrA Janelle Dickey, US Air Force


BASH-ing Bird Strikes

July 26: From lawnmowers to electric fences, A US Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist describes how he manages the Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program at Little Rock Air Force Base.
BASH Program, Little Rock AFB

Image Credit: Tammy L. Reed, US Air Force


Invasion of the Drones

August 12: Reports of close calls between piloted aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles could quadruple in 2015, endangering aircraft and even aerial fire-fighting operations, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency stressed that illegal drone activity is a criminal offense that can result in fines or even jail time.

Image Credit: Bakó Gábor


Reporting Wildlife

August 4: Both commercial and general aviation airports continue to improve their reporting of wildlife strikes to the Federal Aviation Administration. The voluntary reporting program is so successful that the agency concluded that it's not necessary to make it mandatory at this time.
seagulls and plane NARA

Image Credit: Donald Emmerich, US Environmental Protection Agency



August 20: Officials at India's Biju Patnaik International Airport are concerned that the presence of nearby slaughterhouses, slums and agriculture attracts stray animals and birds to the airport.
stray dogs

Image Credit: Robert & Mihaela Vicol


Blown Tires, Dead Bears

July 27: Meet the North Carolina Department of Transportation maintenance specialists who ride that ribbon of highway every day, searching for and picking up large road debris, sometimes so stinky that even the prison road crews have a hard time touching it.
bear on the road

Image Credit: Jackie Skaggs, National Park Service

FOD News Roundup – July 31, 2015

FOD Dust

July 16: The new composite materials used to create light-weight aircraft — such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 — can generate a lot of dust and particulates during the manufacturing process or in MRO facilities. Learn how one shop takes special measures to contain this tiny FOD before it contaminates the entire work area.
Airbus A350 

Cleanroom Gloves

June 25: Is your manufacturing environment so sensitive that you need gloves to handle delicate equipment or goods? Watch these short demonstrations of how to put on cleanroom gloves in either general or sterile environments.
cleanroom gloves 

Dangerous Drones

July 19: In what appears to be either a malicious attempt to spread a wildfire or an incredibly stupid act of negligence, a group of unmanned aerial vehicles harassed a firefighting tanker aircraft in California, forcing it to temporarily abandon efforts to control a massive blaze that destroyed several vehicles on a rural highway.
firefighting aircraft 

New FAA Regulations

July 20: The Federal Aviation Administration is soliciting comments while it considers a proposed rule to tighten regulations for transport category airplanes, such as operating speeds at low altitudes, in order to lessen damage during bird strikes.
aircraft and bird flock 

African Bird Strikes

July 3: Diligent FOD prevention is always cost-effective! Airline operators in Nigeria report that bird strikes at the nation's airports cost their industry over $180 million per year, blaming negligence by government and regulatory agencies. 

Navy FOD Fighting

July 6: Naval airmen aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington take pride in their aircraft, their maintenance efforts and their silent, thrice-per-day FOD walkdowns. 
USS George Washington 

Moments in FOD History: World War

Check out Learn and Live, a vintage 1943 safety training video for pilots flying for US Army Air Forces during World War Two. Saint Peter and a flight instructor meet at the gates of Heaven to discuss why so many American pilots have recently died from preventable accidents. Complete with plane crashes and explosions with 1940's style visual effects.
Learn and Live

FOD News Roundup – June 30, 2015

Rotary FOD

June 10: Keep those helipads clean, folks. Authorities in Fiji believe that foreign object debris damaged the rotor blades of a helicopter during a landing operation, causing it to crash.


Drone FOD

May 18: Predictions that small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will create debris problems have come true, at least in the Philippines. A teenaged hobbyist lost his small drone, only for it to turn up as debris on the runway's edge at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Quadcopter. Image: U.S. Air Force.

Quadcopter. Image: U.S. Air Force.

New FAA Video

150,000 strikes! That's how many the Federal Aviation Administration has cataloged since it first opened the Wildlife Strike Database in 1990. Watch this FAA video with updated information on the database. This is the second in the agency's new Airport Safety Information video series.
FAA video - wildlife database


Sky Lanterns

June 4: Officials in Mumbai, India, are raising security concerns over the increasing popularity of airborne sky lanterns, especially during holidays, near Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
sky lanterns


Keeping Fighters in the Air

May 29: Pay a visit to the F-15 functional test team, the ground maintenance unit responsible for preparing fighter jets for test flights.
USAF functional test team


Bird Strikes Increasing

May 18: India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation reports that birds strikes in that country have almost doubled over the past four years.
bird strike



The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has ordered all 81 airports to take measures to prevent people and livestock from crossing runways.


Cold War Bird Strikes

Here's an interesting 1980's-era training video for US Air Force pilots, introducing them to a basic understanding of bird strike prevention. Includes incidents, pilot interviews and statistics.
USAF 1980's FOD video


Moments in FOD History: Learjet Crash

On February 26, 1973, multiple bird strikes crashed a Learjet after taking off from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in DeKalb County, Georgia. Seven people died and an eighth suffered severe fuel burns.
Peachtree Airport birds

FOD News Roundup – May 30, 2015

A Punch in the Nose

May 14: FOD doesn't pull its punches, and neither should you when fighting it. A Cebu Pacific A320 airliner had to make an emergency landing at Puerto Princesa Airport in the Philippines after unidentified "foreign debris" carved a hole into its nose landing gear.
Puerto Princesa Airport

Bird Strikes Increasing

April 30: University researchers from Wales and Argentina report in Science Magazine that bird strikes are increasing — in both aviation and non-aviation spheres — and that the conditions causing bird strikes may also be responsible for subtle changes in ecological and climate systems.
bird strike, broken nose cone

VIDEO: F-16 FOD Repair

March 24: Do you enjoy spending your workday with chains, ratchets and flashlights? Watch three US Air Force technicians repair a fighter jet engine damaged by FOD.
repair fodded F-16 engine

Wearable FOD Control

May 20: Wouldn't it be great if you could bring your portable electronic devices into a FOD-sensitive area without having to worry about tracking their location, maintaining check-in and check-out records or even losing them inside of an engine or housing? Take a look at these advances in "wearable" devices that you can put on like a vest.

wearable devices

VIDEO: Airport FOD Program

May 7: The City of San Antonio's airport system describes visually its comprehensive FOD program, including meetings, inspections, awareness efforts and performance awards.  
San Antonio FOD program

Drone Regs

Buy The Best Drone, a buyer's guide site, has put together a page of government regulations, information and commentary for people interested in flying small unmanned aerial vehicles.
Quadcopter. Image: U.S. Air Force.

Quadcopter. Image: U.S. Air Force.

De-Icing Agreement

May 21: NASA and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada have renewed a partnership agreement to continue research in the area of aircraft engine icing. It continues for an additional five years research in a variety of critical areas, including engine ice crystal icing and testing practices for thermal ice protection systems.

deicing aircraft

Amtrak Mystery

May 20, 26: Federal investigators are trying to piece together why a passenger train entered a sharp curve at twice the speed limit before it crashed on May 12, killing eight and injuring over 200 people. A foreign object might have struck the windshield, and reports from other trains in the area indicate that someone may have been throwing rocks at trains. The engineer can't remember what happened because he was injured during the incident, which has prompted Amtrak officials to begin installing video cameras inside of its locomotive cabs as a safety measure.
Amtrak Crash

FOD News Roundup – April 16, 2015

Mystery FOD Disrupts Holiday

February 21: Lion Air had to cancel or delay flights from Indonesia's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for three days, delaying departures for thousands of travelers celebrating the Chinese New Year. The rapidly-expanding airline blamed "foreign object damage" but provided virtually no details.
Image courtesy of Boeing.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a...drone?

March 13: What happens when an errant Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) slams into a manned aircraft? George Morse of Failure Analysis Service Technology offers some clues. February 19: You can also read a recent article on concerns about a proposal to allow commercial operators to fly drones in the USA's airspace.
Image: US Geological Survey.

FOD Inspector Becomes FOD

March 11: Detail, details. Pilots of a Boeing 717 had to react quickly during an approach to Perth Airport in Australia, after the airport forgot to tell them that a runway inspection was taking place, turning the inspector's vehicle into potential runway debris.
Image © 2007 by Gnangarra. Some Rights Reserved.

Video: Birds Blow Out Engine

March 21: A passenger shot this fiery footage of a bird strike taking out the left engine of an Airbus A321 taking off from Beirut Airport. Ironically, the passenger later explained that he was on his way to photograph the Aurora Borealis in Iceland.

What Causes Bird Strikes?

What makes a bird fly its body right into the body of an aircraft, or for that matter your car on a weekend drive? Check out this interesting rundown of reasons for such birdbrain behavior. Now if we could only do the same for people...
Image: Federal Aviation Administration

Video: Heated Flight Area

April 8: Watch this time-lapse of snow melting at Greater Binghamton Airport, where an experimental geothermal heating system runs heated water through pipes installed underneath a terminal apron, keeping it relatively snow-free during the winter. Here are some specs, diagrams and photos as well.

Air Force Airfield Operations

April 13: From an undisclosed location in southwest Asia, US Air Force Airfield Management and Air Traffic control personnel perform FOD checks, identify and remove obstructions, obtain flight clearances and otherwise assure that the nation's aerial warfighters depart and arrive safely from their missions.
USAF Air Traffic Controller

Video: Planet of the Apes

April 10: One man's aircraft is another man's - er, primate's - FOD. A chimpanzee attacks and successfully brings down an airborne drone with a wooden stick. Maybe the high-tech weapons labs could learn a thing or two from this low-tech warrior.

Drones – The New Bird Strike Hazard?

When does an airborne aircraft resemble FOD? When it's smaller than practically everything else in the sky. Drones — basically any unmanned, remotely-controlled aircraft — populate our nation's airspace in greater and greater numbers. Depending upon design, they are also described by various acronyns, such as UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems), sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) or mUA (micro Unmanned Aircraft).
Quadcopter. Image: U.S. Air Force.

Quadcopter. Image: U.S. Air Force.

Military and law enforcement agencies already use them extensively. Long banned for commercial purposes, the FAA has recently proposed a set of regulations that would allow the routine use small drones. So, it is only a matter of time before all manner of little machines start buzzing over your community, ranging in size from a small plane to a large insect. It is the miniature drones that concern manned aircraft pilots and industry officials, because in size and behavior they often resemble a bird in flight. They can collide with manned aircraft before pilots have the opportunity to take evasive action. Their relatively fragile construction can cause FOD issues on the ground during a forced landing or airborne break-up. The FAA receives approximately two dozen reports per month of either near misses between UAV's and manned aircraft, or of UAV's flying close to airports. In 2013 a four-foot-long unmanned helicopter came within 200 feet of a Boeing 777 during a landing approach at JFK International Airport. An analysis of possible consequences, had a collision occurred, includes many of the same results of a bird strike, such as a fodded-out engine or cockpit intrusion. Of course, in most cases, a bird strike will more likely to bring down the bird instead of the aircraft. With small UAV's, it's just the opposite, as this video of a hawk attacking and crashing a quad-copter will attest. Now you have the potential for FOD debris on the ground. So many UAV's have taken to the skies so quickly, including private craft making low-altitude flights (which are not usually regulated by the FAA), that government officials struggle just to keep up with the pace of events. For instance, a local videographer caused a stir when his camera-mounted drone buzzed a suburb of Chicago one night to make a promotional video. Confusion abounded over whether or not he had created a safety hazard, invaded people's privacy and followed FAA regulations.
RQ-16A T-Hawk. Image: U.S. Geological Survey.

RQ-16A T-Hawk. Image: U.S. Geological Survey.

A drone strike would also create a more complex knot of insurance and court cases. Unlike a FOD incident caused by a generic piece of debris (such as a small bolt) of unknown origin, or a bird strike where the perpetrator is a natural object, after a drone strike it would not be difficult to trace the ownership and manufacturer of the offending craft. You would know exactly who to sue or prosecute. One way to unclog the traffic, at least during takeoff and landing operations, is to give drones their own dedicated airport. The U.S. Army is doing just that, building a launch and recovery complex specifically for its military UAV's. Located at Fort Bliss, Texas, it will include two runways, taxiways, a hangar, aprons and maintenance assets. Military aviation faces some of its greatest FOD challenges when deploying to forward locations with no airfields or improved surfaces. To help solve this problem, a British manufacturer of portable runways developed an aluminum UAV Landing Mat for the Australian Armed Forces. A partnership between the FAA, the UAV industry and model aircraft enthusiasts has put up a website, Know Before You Fly, that encourages responsible behavior by private drone operators.

Cost-Effective FOD Control

Cost EffectiveIt may be the tail end of the holiday season, but don’t expect Santa to shove a wad of extra cash into your airport’s FOD control budget. While the nation’s aging airport system requires numerous infrastructure upgrades, there’s not a lot of new money coming in. The new Congress is unlikely to increase FAA funding and may even cut it. Efforts to raise the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) cap have so far proved fruitless. Compared to major airports overseas, the US is falling behind. When funds are hard to come by, a good FOD program manager learns how to make do. Maintain your existing equipment as well as you can for as long as you can. Every month that you spend a few hundred dollars to keep that old machine running is another month that you don’t need to shell out many thousands of dollars on a new one. Milk your suppliers for every possible ounce of tech support; they want your business, so let them earn it. When it does come time to buy new equipment, get proactive and bring up creative financing options. If they want the sale, they will work out with you a mutually-acceptable cash-flow plan. If your facility has always made that extra effort to pay its bills on time, now is when that effort pays off for your program and staff. Be a smart buyer. Write up a detailed list of desired performance specifications and include it in correspondence, bid solicitations, and contracts. Ask your supplier for their product’s specifications, other facilities where it is currently deployed and, if possible, an on-site field demonstration. The last thing you want to do is purchase a hundred indoor FOD cans and then watch them rot in the outdoor sun. Is your facility planning a construction project? Most construction contracts require that the contractor keep the work area clean of FOD, so the contractor may have to purchase equipment, such as sweepers and barriers, to fulfill that requirement. Cut a deal with them to transfer ownership of that equipment to you once the project is complete. They recoup a portion of their original purchase costs and you obtain equipment for a portion of its market value. Do you have a GA airport or other facility with a relatively light surface sweeping program? A secondary market exists for used sweepers, which can save you a considerable sum. Even better, get in touch with suppliers and ask if they have an old demo unit that they would be willing to let go of for a nominal sum. This is a win-win situation—they pick up a few dollars and you pick up some extra hours of sweeping. Performance incentives to motivate staff to maintain safety standards need not cost and arm and a leg. A logo jacket or a dinner for two goes a long way to show appreciation. One great way to jazz things up is to let the staff select the type of reward, within the budget that you set, before you award it. Remember, you are not rewarding employees for following the rules. You are thanking them for making the personal decision to treat seriously their own safety, as well as the safety of their colleagues and customers.

Are Wildlife FOD Hazards Increasing?

coyote_runway_videoOur grandparents used to think of coyotes as reclusive creatures wandering the western deserts and woodlands. Not any more. Today these hardy and picturesque predators are just as likely to live in urban areas throughout North America, helping to control the local population of rats, mice and the occasional little yap dog. In October, Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Michigan had to delay several flights after an airliner struck one on a runway. Over the past quarter century, wildlife strikes on civil aircraft in the USA have increased six-fold, from about eighteen hundred in 1990 to over eleven thousand in 2013. The cost to civil aviation, especially general aviation, runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Not surprisingly, populations of large birds, coyotes and deer – which, as a trio, cause the most damage – have increased over that same time period. While minor fluctuations do occur, such as a recent deer decline in some regions, the overall trend is for more birds and animals living and feeding closer to urban areas, including your airport. When new building or agricultural developments encroach on their traditional habitats, wildlife will adapt as best they can, including migrating to the wide-open spaces of airport property. They also feed at agricultural, fishing, sporting, wildlife refuge, industrial, waste-disposal, and other facilities that expose organic matter to the elements. The FAA generally recommends wildlife-attracting land uses should not be created within five miles of an airport. Given the powerful local constituencies that support such land uses, you will have a difficult time removing existing projects. But you can still make your voice heard whenever a new land use is proposed that may impact safety. Regardless of the causes, it is undeniable that the summers are getting hotter and the winters are getting wilder. Changing climate patterns can also shift populations, because most species are used to living within a limited range of temperatures and precipitation. If that range changes, they may migrate away from your airport to a different region, only to be replaced by new species that like the new weather. While nobody can predicting the weather months in advance or how it will affect complex ecosystems, you can still take practical steps to stay ahead of the curve. Contact colleagues at airports with weather similar to the patterns that you are now beginning to experience. Ask them about the birds and animals that normally cause problems there and how they deal with it. Also get in touch with your local university's wildlife experts to discuss recent changes in local populations and get their thoughts on what the future might hold. If you want to learn more and help your colleagues to learn more, participate in the FAA's voluntary Wildlife Strike Database program. You can report a strike that occurred at your airport, search the database for past strike reports, and read the agency's annual report on the topic.

3 Easy Steps to Raise FOD Awareness Right Now!

The Golden BoltKeeping your employees on the lookout for foreign object debris or damage (FOD) can prove challenging in a busy work environment. Try these three proven methods to encourage awareness and a strong safety culture. While the examples focus on airport environments, you can easily apply the same principles to manufacturing facilities. 1. Provide clear goals and instructions. FOD control training sessions involve more than just instructing staff to “pick up after yourself.” Each job description creates its own unique potential for discovering – and creating – potentially dangerous debris. How roughly a Ramper handles cargo influences how many broken suitcase handles, torn ID tags, and ripped labels litter the ramp. The route and speed of a driver towing a runway sweeper influences how efficiently it sweeps. Likewise, the Ramper is in a perfect position to follow “clean as you go” procedures during loading operations. Ground vehicle drivers can be trained to visually scan the pavement during routine operations. Assess each job description, then create a short and specific list of instructions for that employee or team. 2. Bring senior management aboard. Employees pay attention when the C-suite pays attention. Your top executives must set an example by personally encouraging awareness and compliance. For example, in the US Air Force – which has the best FOD program in the world – oversight of an air base's program is normally performed by the Vice Wing Commander, who is a colonel or general and the unit's second-highest ranking officer. Typically, the VWC delegates day-to-day activities to a career sergeant with ground maintenance experience, relying upon his or her reports and recommendations when making command decisions. In a civilian facility, program oversight normally falls to the safety or operations manager or, in a small GA airport, the airport director. Regardless, a senior manager with supervisory authority must hold ultimate responsibility. 3. Hold a FOD contest. Most folks don't think of picking up garbage as fun, so let's make it fun. Challenge staff to create safety posters and distribute copies of the best designs. Lead a round of applause to the employee who brings in the heaviest trash bag during cleanup. A popular and productive contest is the Golden Bolt hunt. First, management colors a bolt with gold paint and hides it. Then, employees perform a “FOD Walk,” visually sweeping an area for FOD, collecting it as they go along. Whoever finds the Golden Bolt wins. During staff meetings, award prizes to employees who collect the most debris, design the best poster, or locate the hidden bolt. They need not be expensive and might include a dinner coupon, gift card, or framed certificate of achievement. You are not “buying” responsible behavior from your employees. You are recognizing their personal decision to actively support the safety of their company, co-workers, and customers. Looking for formal training materials? Visit for a list of online courses that will teach your employees how to practice responsible FOD awareness and control.

MacDill AFB Fish Strike

Fish StrikeSeptember 10, 2013, will forever live in infamy for Lt. Cmdr. Nick Toth, NOAA pilot, and for everyone else involved in the first recorded "fish strike," in the history of NOAA at MacDill that occurred that morning. At roughly 10:50 a.m., Toth and the rest of the aircrew were cleared for takeoff and started their roll in their Gulfstream GIV. "We were nearing the point in the takeoff where we needed to rotate, or raise the nose of the airplane off the ground, when an Osprey with something in its claws flew in front of our aircraft," explained Toth. "We saw that the Osprey did not gain enough altitude, and that it passed underneath the centerline of the aircraft." Read More »

New Video Addresses FOD Prevention in Electronics Assembly

Preventing FOD in Electronics AssemblyIPC has released a new program that focuses exclusively on FOD Prevention in Electronics Assembly. Foreign Objects and Debris (FOD) can severely affect the reliability and functionality of electronic devices. This new IPC training video provides the information and techniques to help eliminate FOD during electronics assembly, including hand soldering, SMT & PTH assembly processes, and box build / wire assembly. For more information about the offering visit Their Site »