FOD is an important safety concept in any aviation, manufacturing or similar environment where small objects have the potential to cause damage or injury. The acronym “FOD” has two meanings:
- Foreign Object Debris
- Foreign Object Damage
Foreign Object Debris is any object, particle, substance, debris or agent that is not where it is supposed to be.
- In an aviation or similar environment, could create a hazard to aircraft, equipment, cargo, personnel or anything else of value.
- In a manufacturing or similar environment, could contaminate the product or otherwise undermine quality control standards, or injure personnel.
Examples of foreign object debris include:
- Tools, parts and loose hardware
- Building materials
- Paper, paper clips, pens, coins and badges
- Fragments of broken pavement
- Trash, food wrappers and beverage containers
- Rocks, sand and loose vegetation
- Baggage tags and pieces of luggage
- Hats, rags and gloves
- Birds, wildlife and volcanic ash
Foreign Object Damage is damage caused by Foreign Object Debris that compromises the quality, functionality or economic value of a manufactured item. For instance, a piece of FOD at the wrong place at the wrong time can:
- Shred fan blades when sucked into a turbojet
- Blow out tyres at high speeds
- Damage delicate components when trapped inside equipment housings
- Freeze control mechanisms when lodged next to levers and handles
It is estimated the cost to the civilian aviation sector of FOD damage is between $4 billion and $13 billion annually in damaged equipment, flight delays, reduced efficiency, litigation and other costs.
FOD also has the potential to injure employees, passengers, factory workers and others. In addition, FOD in military environments can affect national security, reducing air defence and other mission capabilities.
Two examples of serious FOD incidents include:
The crash of Air France Flight 4590 near Paris in July 2000. A strip of titanium had fallen off the engine cowl of another airliner landing on the runway. Minutes later the strip shattered one of 4590’s tyres during take-off, this, in turn, ruptured a fuel tank. 113 people died. The litigation and criminal prosecution lasting for years afterwards.
In January 2009 the crash of US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River in New York. Shortly after take-off, a flight of Canadian Geese collided with the airliner shutting down both engines. The pilot, who had also trained as a glider pilot successfully ditched the plane into the river. There were five serious injuries and no fatalities.
Find out more about FOD from the FOD Control Corporations other website: FODNews.com
This provides up to date information on FOD equipment and FOD Damage with articles and information from leading members of the aviation industry.