Category: Publications

Still image based Foreign Object Debris detection system

Even with mature FOD detection products on the market, it’s still good to see that research is still going on in the field of FOD detection. I recently came across this paper by Hassan Aftab and Raja Shoaib M. Minhas of the National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. The paper describes a system based on visual images (as opposed to radar etc.)

imageHere’s the conclusion of the research:

Using the discussed methodology and algorithm, satisfactory results are obtained. Different items of different size, shape and colour are used as FODs in experiments where the minimum detected FOD size is 0.6 × 0.6 inch. Contrast of the object w.r.t. background, size, shape, height of object and weather conditions can affect the detection rate. It can be further improved by employing high resolution images and fast processing systems.


Free copy of runway safety FOD report

Iain McCreary has very generously released his FOD report titled “Runway Safety: FOD, Birds, and the Case for Automated Scanning” to the public (previously priced at $1200)


Here’s Iain’s statement that goes along with the public release of the report:

Blame Aesop’s Fables, but I hate the idea of playing ‘the dog in the manger’. I’ve gotten everything I’m going to get out of my Dec2010/Jan2011 book on FOD and runway safety; the website selling the report is coming down; and I have since moved on to other projects and sectors…

While I no longer have use for the report, you might? There is a lot of useful detail in there. Most of the regulatory action/decisions/language on this subject is being driven by my work; and just because I am no longer using or selling the report…

I am passing the file to FAA, ICAO, and others (for them to share, if they choose) but thought this community might like direct access. With my blessing, if you’d like to download a free and unrestricted electronic copy of report (which was selling online for $1200) please go right ahead. Use it internally. Share it with clients. Email it around. Post it on websites. Blog about it. Burn it in effigy… Do whatever you wish. No charge, no restrictions. If the thing can be of use to you, I am happy to let it be used.

As ever, I make no pretence about the work, and describe it as simply being the best wrong answer available. That said, my prediction for United’s cost of FOD and birds was $109M pa, and United’s Managing Director for Ground Safety’s in-house estimate was $113M, so I’m not completely out of line (yes, I realize this was a fluke, but its a convenient one!)

(300 pages. Full color. Sized for US 8.5×11 letter pages. ~20MB. Note that all copyright restrictions remain in place)

Download the report here.

FOD is a ticking time bomb

Aviation week have an article describing Michelin’s manager of customer support engineering, Keat Pruszenski’s efforts to help increase awarness of the dangers of FOD.

“FOD is a ticking time bomb,” Pruszenski says. Without some signs of progress, he fears another disaster on the scale of the loss of the Air France Concorde.

No mention of FOD detection systems in the article.

Source (Aviation Week)

Foreign object debris surveillance network for runway security

Just came across this article in Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology journal, here’s the abstract:

Purpose – Foreign object debris (FOD) poses a significant hazard to aviation safety and brings huge economic losses to the aerospace industry due to aircraft damage and out-of-service delays. Different schemes and sensors have been utilized for FOD detection. This paper aims to look into a video-based FOD detection system for airport runway security and propose a scheme for FOD surveillance network establishment.

Design/methodology/approach – The FOD detection algorithm for the system is analyzed in detail, including four steps of pre-processing, background subtraction, post-processing and FOD location.

Findings – The overall algorithm is applied to two sets of live video images. The results show that the algorithm is effective for FOD targets of different shades under different lighting conditions. The proposed system is also evaluated by the ground-truth data collected at Nanyang Airport.

Practical implications – The runway security can be greatly increased by designing an affordable video-based FOD detection system.

Originality/value – The paper presents critical techniques of video-based FOD detection system. The scheme for FOD surveillance network, as a significant part of aviation risk management at airports, is applicable and extensible.

Here’s the link.

Runway Safety: FOD, Birds, and the Case For Automated Runway Scanning

Iain McCreary (author of The Economic Cost of FOD) has published a new report entitled: Runway Safety: FOD, Birds, and the Case For Automated Runway Scanning.

The report has a dedicated website. Here’s the description:

The risks posed by Foreign Object Debris (FOD) and birds on the runway represent one of the largest economic and cost-reduction opportunities available to the aviation industry. Ironically, they are also among the least understood and least discussed risks. With combined costs in excess of US $35,000 per 10K aircraft movements, FOD and bird strikes on the runway cost airlines roughly $21 per flight, and as much as $0.12 (12?) per passenger.

This in-depth report is the best and most useful analysis of runway safety, FOD, and on-runway strikes available.

Data driven and values neutral, the report is useful to airlines seeking cost reduction measures; airports building an investment case for automated scanning; regulators setting safety policy; aerospace investors; consultants; technology vendors; and anyone interested in this emerging field.

Structured for easy reading, and quickly digestible with tools to support your own analyses, the report is quickly becoming ‘required reading’ in the aviation community. Whether you are a regulator, airport operator, airline, service provider, or technology vendors, this report has the answers to your questions about FOD, bird strikes, and automated runway scanning.

Nobody understands the case for FOD detection like Iain, so if you’re considering investing in a FOD detection system then I highly recommend taking a look.

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