Category: FAA

Firms Vie for FAA FOD Detection Contract

A nice summary of the FAA and FOD detection appeared recently at Aviation International News, see the source article here, snippets below:

QinetiQ’s Tarsier uses a fairly powerful scanning radar, generally requiring two separate radars set back from the runway and overlapping to cover an 11,000-foot runway, as well as a slewable, military-grade camera for close target inspection. Recently, the UK company announced the integration of Tarsier with a runway and taxiway acoustic sensing system to warn of potential runway incursions.

The iFerret system from Singapore-based Stratech Systems typically uses eight non-radar “intelligent vision” electro-optic sensors alongside, but set back from, the runway. The sensors capture images in full HD quality, with a 70X zoom capability that allows swift visual assessment of FOD. The system’s software-controlled optics also compensate for changing ambient light levels to maintain daylight-like images in darkness.

The mobile FOD Finder, the system employed at Yuma, incorporates into one pallet a radar, radome, electronics, wireless data transfer and 360-degree zoom cameras, and is operable while moving in a half-ton truck. Surface-mounted FOD Finders can be rapidly linked to create a temporary or permanent fixed array along a runway. When the system is mobile, a powerful vacuum system can recover FOD while moving. The device is offered by San Diego-based Trex Industries.

The FOD detection system from Tel Aviv-based Xsight uses existing runway-edge light fixtures as mounting bases. A weatherproof above-ground unit holds scanning radar and zoom camera. Watertight electronic units, power and communication equipment contained in an underground chest support the mounting base. Runway cameras are individually slewed via consoles in the control tower. The system is deployed on dual runways at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International.

Source (AIN Online)

FODetect at Air Traffic Management.net

AirTrafficManagement.net have a short piece which highlights the fact that the FAA has published its report on FODetect

The hybrid sensor solution was tested at Boston Logan International Airport and were conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration, Williams J. Hughes Technical Center, Aviation Research Division, Airport Technology Branch and the Center of Excellence for Airport Technology, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Results show that the hybrid sensor solution, consisting of integrated radar and electro-optical sensors, meets or exceeds the highest level of performance in every parameter required by FAA regulation.

Source (AirTrafficManagement.net)

 

Buy American waiver for FODetect

It was pointed out to me (and rightly so, many thanks) that I’ve failed to mention that Xsight’s FODetect system has been granted a Buy American waiver. Details of the companies that qualify for the Buy American policy can be found on this spreadsheet.

Last, but not least, the FAA report on FODetect

The FAA have published their report on the FODetect system:

Performance Assessment of a Hybrid Radar and Electro-Optical Foreign Object Debris Detection System(download)

Here’s an extract from the Xsight press release.

Xsight Systems, the provider of advanced runway sensing solutions chosen by leading airports worldwide, is proud to announce that the FAA has published its final performance assessment report on the FODetect solution. The final report follows the interim performance assessment which has been previously shared with key stakeholders.

This is the final report on The Big 4 systems, so here they all are for your convenience:

  • FODetect from Xsight (PDF-June 2012)
  • iFerret from Stratech Systems (PDF-March 2012)
  • FOD Finder from Trex Enterprises (PDF-September 2011)
  • Tarsier from QinetiQ (PDF-February 2011)

 

Stratech’s iFerret granted Buy American Waiver

During Dec 2010 the FAA announced that they would issue a Nationwide Buy American Waiver for the Trex Aviation Systems’ FOD Finder XF* and QinetiQ’s Tarsier FOD System (article). Today it’s the turn of the iFerret system from Stratech. Better late than never I guess.

Stratech’s iFerret™ Granted Buy American Waiver

Singapore, 7 May 2012 – Singapore Exchange Mainboard-listed Stratech Systems today announces that its iFerret™ intelligent Airfield/Runway Surveillance and FOD (Foreign Object & Debris) Detection System has been granted a Buy American Waiver by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

The Buy American Preferences regulations require purchases in AIP (Airport Improvement Program) funded projects to be produced in the U.S. The FAA however has the authority to waive the Buy American Preferences if certain conditions are met.

With the Waiver, iFerret™ is now officially on the FAA’s Buy American Conformance List1. As stated by the FAA, this is a list of equipment that is frequently used on AIP funded projects that meets the Buy American requirements or has been issued a Nationwide Waiver. The Nationwide Waiver will allow iFerret™ to be used on AIP funded projects without having to receive separate waivers for each project. This enables projects to start quickly, while still ensuring the funds used for airport projects are being directed to manufacturers that meet the Buy American requirements.

The AIP2 provides grants to qualifying airports for improvement projects that enhance airport safety, capacity, security and environmental concerns. iFerret™ had recently received FAA approval3, which is another significant development because airports that purchase FOD Detection Systems assessed by the FAA to be compliant with requirements are eligible for AIP grants. This Waiver ensures conformance with the Buy American Preferences—another requirement for AIP grants.

Stratech Executive Chairman, Dr David K.M. Chew, said, “The Buy American Waiver allows iFerret™ a good opportunity to establish itself in the vast U.S. market. This is another important milestone following the recent FAA accreditation.”

Source (Stratech website)

Stratech’s iFerret receives FAA approval

Hot on the heels of Tarsier and FOD Finder, the FAA report on iFerret is now available.

Here’s the abstract:

In 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team conducted a performance assessment of the iFerret™, electro-optical, foreign object debris (FOD) detection system. This assessment included the system’s capability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s capability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow was also assessed.
A comprehensive performance assessment of the technology was demonstrated at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Installation of iFerret sensors was completed at ORD in late 2008, and extensive data collection was conducted from June 2009 through July 2010. These were supplemented by an assessment of an iFerret installation at Singapore’s Changi International Airport in May 2009. At the conclusion of the data collection process, the FAA had sufficient data to conclude the performance assessment. The iFerret FOD detection system was able to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces, taxiways, and aprons and was able to perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions, as required by FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24, “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment.”

Download: Performance Assessment of an Electro-Optical-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System

FAA report on FOD Finder

Back in March of this year the FAA published their report on the Tarsier FOD detection system, within the next few days the FAA are due to publish their report on FOD Finder, the mobile system from Trex Enterprises. Trex have been kind enough to send me a copy in advance of the availability on the FAA website.

It’s worth noting that FOD Finder is the only mobile system on the market, and is therefore the only system available which can cover taxiways and aprons, as well as the runway. Theoretically the fixed systems could cover the same areas, but strict building rules and cost make this very impractical.

Here’s the abstract:

In 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team initiated research to conduct a performance assessment of the Trex Enterprises FOD Finder™, a mobile, radar-based foreign object debris (FOD) detection system. This assessment included the system’s capability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s capability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow was also assessed.
The FOD Finder detection system was installed at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in March 2009 and initially tested in July 2009. The assessment of the FOD Finder detection system at ORD was supplemented by the evaluation of two additional FOD Finder detection systems at Honolulu International Airport and the McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, California. The performance assessment at all three airports began in May 2010 and concluded in September 2010. Researchers conducted several test sessions at each airport to assess the FOD Finder’s capability to detect selected FOD items that were of various shapes, sizes, color, and material in both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog and snow.
The FOD Finder detection system was able to detect the objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces, taxiways, and aprons, and was able to perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow.

Download: Performance Assessment of a Mobile, Radar-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System

FAA report on Tarsier evaluation

The FAA have published their report on the evaluation of QinetiQ’s FOD detection system (Tarsier), entitled “Performance Assessment of a Radar-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System”. The report also summarizes the Tarsier Toolbox application (p30-p33). You can grab the report here.

In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team initiated a research program to conduct a performance assessment of the QinetiQ, Ltd. Tarsier Foreign Object Debris (FOD) detection radar system. The purpose of this assessment was to identify key operational characteristics and limitations of the system at an active air carrier airport, including the system’s ability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s ability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and in light and heavy snow was also assessed. In January 2005, the FAA developed plans for a comprehensive performance assessment of the technology at the Providence T. F. Green International Airport. Installation of the Tarsier system was completed in April 2007. Extensive data collection campaigns were conducted from June 2007 to March 2008. At the conclusion of the data collection process, the FAA had sufficient data to conclude the performance assessment. The QinetiQ Ltd. Tarsier FOD detection radar system was found to detect the necessary objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on the runway surface and was able to perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions, as required by FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24, “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment.”

Source (FAA Downloads)

Automated Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection System Evaluation

The FAA have updated their page summarizing the evaluation of the four FOD detection systems. They also link to the relevant FAA circulars.

The FAA evaluated four types of automated FOD detection systems at four large US airports, including the Theodore Francis Green State Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago O’Hare, and Chicago’s Midway Airport. The four different FOD detection systems were installed and evaluated at one of these airports. Key operational characteristics of each FOD detection system were evaluated, documented, summarized, and then published as FAA Final Reports, which are available, as they are published, on this web site under Downloads-Safety. Specific issues that were looked at include the system’s ability to located FOD items, accuracy, speed, and capability to trigger alerts to airport personnel.

Source (FAA)

Notice of Decision To Issue Buy American Waivers for Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment

From the Federal Register:

The FAA has determined that two manufacturers with products containing 60% or more U.S. content and U.S. final assembly are able to produce sufficient and reasonable amounts of FOD detection equipment meeting the requirements of FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24. Subsequently, the FAA will issue Buy American Waivers based on the 60% U.S. content and U.S. final assembly. The FAA will not issue any Buy American Waivers based on insufficient quantity to foreign manufacturers.

As a result the FAA will issue a Nationwide Buy American Waiver for the Trex Aviation Systems’ FOD Finder XF* and QinetiQ’s Tarsier FOD System based on the 60% U.S. content and U.S. final assembly waiver permitted in 49 U.S.C. 50101(b)(3). With the presence of these two manufacturers in the United States the FAA has determined there is sufficient quantity and consequently there is no justification for issuing any Buy American Waivers to foreign manufacturers based on insufficient quantity at this time.

This “Nationwide Waiver” will allow Trex Aviation Systems’ FOD Finder XF* and QinetiQ’s Tarsier FOD System to be used on AIP funded projects without having to receive separate waivers for each project. Having a nationwide waiver enables projects to start quickly without having to wait for the Buy American analysis to be completed for every project, while still assuring the funds used for airport projects under the statute are being directed to manufacturers that meet the Buy American requirements.

*The FOD Finder XF is Trex’s fixed solution, Trex is better known for their mobile solution, the FOD Finder XM.

Source (the federal register)(PDF version)

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