On Saturday, March 24th volunteers will gather at 6:45 a.m. at the Greenville Downtown Airport Terminal lobby (100 Tower Drive, Greenville, SC 29607) for a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) walk. Why? Because "FOD is responsible for a significant amount of aircraft damage each year and is a threat to aircraft safety. It can damage tires, engines, wind screens and airframes. The Concorde crash in Paris in 2000 was due to FOD'" stated Keat Pruszenski, a local upstate aviation enthusiast and a retired Michelin aircraft tire expert. "I was told by a friend who works at an airline that they have to replace 4-5 wind screens (aircraft windshields) every week due to FOD blown on them from jet blasts. There have been many studies that show the cost for FOD due to damage to aircraft every year is in the Millions of Dollars," added Pruszenski.
What is FOD? It is anything that should not be on the airport surfaces where aircraft have movement. Common items are things that can fall off of people or out of shirt pockets like badges, hats, pens, pencils, cell phones, and pocket lights. Some items come off of aircraft or vehicles moving in the area like tire valve caps, aircraft lens lights, screws, nuts and bolts. Other items are naturally occurring like sticks, acorns, rocks and pavement particles that have come loose from the surface. Many other things have been found like golf balls, socks, drill bits, water bottles, rubber bands, duct tape and wire.
The process involves a team of volunteer FOD inspectors walking in lines, spaced about 10 feet apart, to find and pick-up any foreign objects that might cause damage to aircraft. Items are secured in individual bags during the walk, then consolidated, counted and a FOD index of pieces per 1,000 square meters of area inspected is determined. The index can be compared to the score of other airports and to a later survey to determine the success of the airport in controlling possible FOD on a regular basis.
"FOD is everyone's responsibility on a daily basis at an airport. Airport employees, tenants and pilots dispose of FOD all day long. We also have a street sweeper that we use to collect FOD. If you see it, you pick it up. That is the rule. A FOD walk determines how well we are doing and where improvement may be needed. This time the South Carolina Aviation Association Aviation Safety Committee will be joining us to see how we organize and carry out the event. They hope to create a template, for airports around the state to follow, to better our battle to rid South Carolina airports of FOD!" stated Joe Frasher, Airport Director of the Greenville Downtown Airport and South Carolina Aviation Association Board Member.
Please join us at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 24th at the Greenville Downtown Airport Terminal lobby to start a FOD walk at 7:00 a.m. We will walk all runways, taxiways and aprons and finish with donuts and coffee in the terminal lobby. We expect to be finished with the walk by 9:30 a.m. PLEASE BRING A FLASHLIGHT. We will have bags.
"We need your help to continue to make GMU the safest airport that we can," stated Frasher. Please email Keat Pruszenski at email@example.com tell him if you can make it.
The Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn't rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest Fixed Base Operation (FBO) in the state, as well as more than 15 other aviation-related businesses creating 547 jobs that annually contribute more than $68.8 million to the Upstate economy. For more information about GMU please visit http://www.greenvilledowntownairport.com or contact Joe Frasher at 864-242-4777 or firstname.lastname@example.org