The FOD Squad

Cover Story The FOD Squad Fighting FOD at Chicago's O'Hare Airport is an everyday battle, but a dedicated team of airlines, ground handlers, consultants, associations, and the City of Chicago are up to the challenge, writes Michelle Garetson By...

As of January 1, 2003, ORD will implement a FOD Ticket program that wields a US$500 fine for violations. "The fine doubles every day until the situation is fixed," says Schwartz. "Contractors will have a FOD clause in their contracts."

George Lyman, General Manager, Airside Operations for the City of Chicago's Department of Aviation and has been involved with FOD prevention efforts since 1993. Lyman monitors the staff of 40 who are responsible for the dispatch of personnel and vehicles for the retrieval of FOD items on O'Hare's vast airfield. There are three, 8-hour shifts for 24/7/365 coverage.

Lyman explains that the City of Chicago owns equipment including sweepers and a tow-behind magnet unit that serves O'Hare. "The sweepers have a daily route to follow to keep up with metal debris. We also have 'FOD Fences' (similar to the orange, gridded snow fences) in strategic places around the airfield to catch blowing debris such as papers, bags, soda cans, etc. from making their way onto a runway or service road."

He continues, "Airlines are responsible within their lease lines, but the City can clean up an area and charge the airline for that clean up."

Lyman offers that the FAA AC's [Advisory Circulars] are sometimes used for guidance on equipment selection as to the type of specifications the FAA may find necessary. "Ease of use and speed of response are two key characteristics we look for in products," he says.

Meanwhile, the fight to eliminate FOD on O'Hare's airfield continues. With the continuous vigilance displayed by all parties, a little more ground — debris-free ground — is gained each day.

We Recommend