Kicking up Dust

Aug. 8, 2000

Kicking up dust

New construction challenges FOD management at DTW

Jordanna Smida, associate editor

August 2000

DETROIT, MI — As Wayne County's Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) takes on one of its largest construction projects, the new Midfield Terminal, it is working to increase awareness of foreign object debris (FOD) throughout the airport.

Anyone traveling through DTW cannot miss the massive project, as trucks navigate throughout the fenced construction site and cranes maneuver I-beams, leaving any onlooker to wonder how DTW is controlling foreign object debris during such an undertaking.

The $1.2 billion Midfield Terminal, which is being built in partnership with Northwest Airlines, will double the current capacity of the airport and include 74 gates, more than 100 passenger ticketing positions, 24 curbside check-in stations, and a new 11,500 space parking deck, according to Brian Lassaline, external relations for DTW.

A large portion of the construction project will include a new south access road, which will provide a new entrance to the airport. The road will link DTW to another major interstate freeway, I-275, and reduce traffic on the airport's existing I-94 entrance. The six-lane road will tunnel under two runways and several taxiways, and link to the airport's current primary entrance.

According to Hassan Makled, deputy director, division of operations at DTW, "Any new employee that comes in is taught what FOD is and the damage it can do to an aircraft."

The airport has a FOD patrol which is responsible for patrolling the airport area for FOD and reporting it to maintenance, Makled says. The airport is required to do one runway inspection a day, but completes a minimum of three per day, he states.

The airport is also in the process of expanding its FOD program. Plans include educating the other various departments at the airport about FOD. To do this DTW is developing an employee FOD prevention booklet titled, FOD the Enemy, which according to Makled, discusses how the airport reports FOD and how to dispose of it.

Northwest Airlines is the acting construction manager on the project, Makled says, but airport operations and the airlines are coordinating the FOD control together. Northwest is responsible for making sure that watering trucks keep the dust around the site compacted. Magnet trucks are also deployed occasionally to sweep the perimeter. In addition, bi-monthly meetings which include construction staff, district FAA members, and tenants, are held at which any FOD issues can be addressed if needed.

To keep FOD off the runways, any vehicles that have to leave the site are required to be clean, Makled explains. Construction vehicles crossing a runway are also required to have a sweeper clean up after them, he says, and following its passage, an operations manager inspects the runway before reopening it.

"It's surprising that there is very little (FOD) out there. It's very clean for a major construction project going on here," he states.