Made in the US of A

Just read an article on the North County Times website, regarding the Trex system (FOD Finder).

The article singles out FOD Finder as being the only mobile system, which in my opinion is also its greatest weakness. While the other 3 systems on the market scan 24/7, FOD Finder is limited, it can only detect FOD when the vehicle is being driven on the runway/taxiway. Given this fact it’s interesting that they also mention the Concorde incident. The metal strip that caused this incident was on the runway for just 4 minutes, the other 3 systems would have had a good chance of detecting the object, whereas FOD Finder would have to have been driven on the runway between every flight to achieve anywhere near the same probability of detection.

Source (North County Times)

2 Responses to “Made in the US of A”

  • Grant Bishop says:

    Passenger safety is paramount….and that is why Trex Aviation Systems protects from gate-to-gate with our mobile, fixed and transportable FOD Finder systems. We cover the entire airport operating surface with mobile (FOD Finder XM), fixed 24/7 continous detection (FOD Finder XF) and transportable (FOD Finder XT) FOD detection systems.

    Data from Boeing, SRI and DoD clearly shows the majority of FOD is located on the ramp and taxiways–not runways. So if you are going to protect passengers, shouldn’t you protect them from gate-to-gate across all surfaces of the airfield with the FOD Finder product line versus only runway-to-runway with all the others?

    Remember, “There are many roads to Rome” and every airport is different. That is why FOD Finder offers a fixed 24/7 continous coverage system or the mobile configuration. We always focus on the needs of the customer.

    We are happy to answer any questions you might have on the article, our systems or company.

    Thank you.

    Cheers,

    Grant Bishop
    Trex Aviation Systems
    COO
    gbishop@trexenterprises.com

  • mark says:

    Grant,

    First of all I would like to say thank you for leaving a comment and contributing to FOD-Detection.com. And I would also like to congratulate you on being the first vendor representative to actually contribute publicly towards the debate on FOD detection systems, I’m sure we both agree that it’s an important topic, and one that is worthy of open and healthy debate.

    Regarding your comments concerning the desire to protect passengers “gate-to-gate”, rather than “runway-to-runway”, it’s a good point, and in a perfect world I’m sure we would all like to see airports ensure that their aprons, taxiways and runways are clear from FOD 24/7. But we live in a world of limited resources, and airports have to prioritise their expenditure.

    In a perfect world we would see “all of the areas monitored all of the time”, but so far no airport has chosen this option, so we are left with the options of monitoring “some of the areas all of the time”, or “all of the areas some of the time”. And so far the majority of FOD detection customers seem to be saying that “some of the areas all of the time” is a higher priority. While there might be more FOD on aprons and taxiways, the risk (probability of being ingested into an engine) will increase when the engines are providing most thrust, i.e. on the runway. Of course it’s not quite as simple as that, FOD located on taxiways is likely to be blown onto the runway, so the picture is quite a complicated one, and ultimately it is a judgment call that has to be made by the airports themselves.

    My personal preference would be to see a 24/7 monitoring of the runways, and a mobile solution, such as your FOD Finder XM being used for the remaining areas. As far as I’m aware, at the moment no single vendor is capable of delivering such an integrated system (I’m afraid I have no information on your FOD Finder XF product, please feel free to elaborate in this discussion thread).

    The path chosen by the current market leader i.e. QinetiQ’s Tarsier system, is that of a hi-fidelity sensor that operates over a long range, it would be highly impractical for taxiway or apron areas, this is proven by the fact that it has never been deployed, or as far as I’m aware, advertised, to operate in these areas. Stratech’s iFerret system is designed to operate over a shorter range, but the number of towers required to cover aprons, taxiways and runways would make it very impractical to deploy. And the Xsight system is designed to replace runway lights so again would be impractical for taxiways and aprons.

    I have yet to see a system that can provide full coverage of the airfield, at least in any practical or affordable configuration. But I completely agree with you, I believe passengers should be protected gate-to-gate. And it might be that you are closer to this solution than any of the other vendors (indeed, it might be that you have the solution).

    I’m sure that if the other vendors have strong feelings on the issues we’ve discussed (the risk posed by FOD located on aprons, taxiways, or runways, or the pros and cons of fixed vs mobile solutions) they will eagerly contribute to this discussion thread.

    Mark, (Editor of FOD-Detection.com)

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