Category: Military

March Air Reserve Base

Commercial airports very rarely seem to publicise any real data on FOD damage or FOD finds, the Military on the other hand are always keen to report the results of their FOD walks. An article in Aerotech News describes the efforts of the staff at the March Air Reserve Base (map).

During the quarter ending Dec 2010, FOD incidents caused over $21,000 in repair costs to our aircraft here at home station, not to mention, perhaps, some tense moments for our aircrews.

The article goes on to show an image of some damaged fan blades, and to thank those involved in their efforts towards improving air safety.

Your assistance last week is greatly appreciated and has made a difference.  The first photo is of one of the engines on our aircraft that had a recent encounter with foreign objects on takeoff last month.

They found 32 pounds of material during their FOD walk! Check out the article and see the images at

Firm’s Runway Radar Looks to Improve Airport Safety

This article appeared on the San Diego Business Journal website yesterday. It’s a good piece that describes the FOD Finder system from Trex. It describes the current installs, the costs of the system and the amount of FOD found when the system was used at the Yuma Marine base (map). It also highlights the fact that the system can be leased on a monthly basis (this is an advantage over fixed systems where the cost of installation would make any short term leasing impractical), which is a great idea for those airports that are reluctant to purchase new technology.

The machine costs $400,000, he said, adding that airports can lease it for $12,000 to $15,000 per month. Bishop said airports often see a return on their investment in less than 60 days.

(source – The San Diego Business Journal)

Catch up

Due to other commitments I’m a little behind with the FOD news from the last few weeks, so here’s a summary:

Edwards Air Force Base, they’re very serious about FOD

Oh, how I loathe checks for foreign object debris. FOD checks consist of everyone in each vehicle getting out with screwdrivers and removing every single rock stuck in the treads. (source)

Stratech’s iFerret Tackles Major Runway Hazards Faced By Airports Today

This story appeared on at least 3 news sites during the last few weeks.,, and I’m not sure if we should read anything into the fact that the 3 websites are all related to the stock market.

Runway Debris Detection Systems Saves Lives

A QinetiQ article at Airport-International that discusses the Concorde incident. (source)

Justice, Safety Require Balance

An Editorial at Aviation Week that discusses the Concorde incident, and the issue with FOD, but makes no mention of the existence of FOD detection systems.

Significantly, there are no uniform standards for what is acceptable FOD or how to find the junk that could cause harm, just general agreement to try to eliminate all debris. This is accomplished chiefly through periodic inspections. (source)

FOD walks can be labour intensive!

I used to post images of FOD walks, but stopped as they were not particularly interesting, but this one caught my eye.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 3, 2011) – Sailors conduct a foreign object Damage (FOD) walk down after an abandon ship drill aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are on a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)

Source (Flickr)

Whiteman Air force Base FOD walk

FOD walk at Whiteman Air Force BaseAn article has appeared on the Whiteman Air Force Base website describing their FOD clean up procedures.

“Since the B-2 is one of the main air frames operating from Whiteman, sharp objects that may pierce a tire is one of our biggest concerns,” said Airman Siemns. “Because of this, we pay close attention when making our passes during FOD walks, as a punctured tire could lead to an aircraft becoming in operational.”

According to Whiteman statistics, 363.1 lbs. of FOD was collected at the end of the May.

Read the full article (Whiteman Air Force Base website)

Sailors save lives

This article recently appeared at and describes the efforts on board the USS Enterprise to keep the deck FOD free.

USS Enterprise CVN-65

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jared M. King, USS Enterprise Public Affairs:

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) — The crew of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is working to prevent foreign object damage to aircraft while underway, preparing for its 21st deployment.

Twice daily, all hands are invited to participate in a foreign object debris (FOD) walk-down, to clear the hangar bay and flight deck of any hazardous material. (more…)

F-22A susceptible to FOD


A case has been put before the US Senate Armed Forces Committee for an $8M taxiway to be built at the Holloman Air Force Base (link to map). One of the arguments for the project is that the new taxiway would help reduce FOD damage to the F22A Raptor. The funding has been requested by Tom Udall, the senator for New Mexico. The case states:

Due to the high susceptibility of the F-22A to engine damage caused by ingesting Foreign Object Debris (FOD), F-22A operations require pavements free of FOD. If this project is not executed, all F-22A Raptor operations will remain susceptible to extremely costly FOD damage. Each engine in an  F-22A costs over $6M and a single FOD incident can render an engine useless without major repairs. Given the fact that other installations operating the Raptor have already experienced severe FOD damage incidents, a project costing just under the price of one single F-22A engine pays for itself in short order. Failure to train aircrews in the world’s premier airborne weapons platform will greatly reduce the ability of the U.S. Air Force to project global airpower dominance in defense of the nation.(….source)

There is some evidence to backup the claims regarding the F22A’s susceptibility to FOD damage (and the expense):

In October, 2005 a F-22A from the 27th Fighter Squadron operating from Hill Air Force Base suffered $6.7 Million worth of damage to the right engine after sucking in 5-inch-long landing gear pin while the engines were running.(….source)

For more details and debate regarding the above incident see here.

FOD walk on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)


U.S. Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) gather at the bow of the ship for a foreign object debris walk down June 26, 2010, while under way in the Arabian Sea. The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is deployed as part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Source: Flickr

RAF Gibraltar has some unique FOD issues

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. The territory itself is a peninsula of 2.642 sq mi whose isthmus connects to the north with Spain.

The Google Map below shows the main road from Gibraltar into Spain which crosses the runway, from the map you can also see the pedestrians!

The Gibraltar Chronicle has posted an interesting article that describes the FOD situation, and the efforts required to control it. Read the article here.

View Larger Map

FOD in the US Navy

Protecting against the dangers posed by FOD requires a lot of manpower, the following images show a FOD walk on board the USS George Washington, and a FOD borescope inspection on board the USS Harry S. Truman, click on the images for more information.

FOD walk on the USS George Washington

FOD walk on the USS George Washington

FOD inspection on the USS Harry S. Truman

FOD inspection on the USS Harry S. Truman

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