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Control FOD to Prevent Aircraft Wildlife Strikes

birds flying in front of airplane in flight

Wildlife poses a great danger to aircraft, as collisions with birds and other animals can cause crippling damage to the engines and other components of a plane. Airports bear a large part of the responsibility in ensuring wildlife strikes don’t result in expensive damage to aircraft and human injuries and death. Foreign Object Debris (FOD) control policies can help airports greatly reduce the risk of aircraft strikes.

Between 1990 and 2013, there were around 142,000 wildlife strikes involving civil aircraft. Almost 97 percent of them involved birds. The remaining three percent of strikes involved other animals, including deer, coyotes, alligators, bats, and more. The vast majority of wildlife strikes occur at airports, and these facilities often bear the brunt of legal liability for these accidents.

Airports have several options to reduce the likelihood of a wildlife strike, including:

  • Reducing the number of wildlife around airports can help them reduce the likelihood of a strike. Airports should pursue zoning agreements with their local municipal governments to keep bird attractions such as landfills, agricultural facilities, and fast food restaurants away from airports or to manage them in a way that concentrates birds in areas away from aircraft flight paths.
  • Airports need to monitor wildlife activity around their facilities. Personnel should keep track of birds and wildlife in the area and report when their numbers pose a potential threat. By identifying the problem and reporting it to airport authorities, steps can be taken to disperse flocks of birds or dispose of dead animals that may pose a hazard.
  • Keeping airport runways and related facilities clear of FOD can also greatly help reduce the likelihood of a strike. One of the most effective tools for removing FOD from airport facilities is the FOD Boss. The FOD Boss is a patented sweeper that is towed behind a motorized vehicle. The device resembles a mat that is towed behind the vehicle.

The FOD Boss uses resilient brushes that facilitate FOD collection by rows of aerothane scoops. Debris collected by the FOD Boss is trapped in a special mesh until the operator disposes of it. The FOD BOSS is highly adaptable to a variety of environments and can be safely used around aircraft.

The beauty of the FOD Boss is the speed at which it can remove debris from surfaces, and the accuracy of the product. The FOD Boss will remove almost all foreign object debris from airport facilities.

An airplane taking offBetween 1990 and 2012, wildlife strikes resulted in accidents that caused 25 deaths and 279 injuries. The airline industry has lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of these strikes. Airports can avoid many of these accidents if they follow good foreign object debris control practices and use the right products.

Aerosweep has developed airport speed sweeping solutions for more than 30 years. The company’s FOD Boss system is used in airfields, racetracks, industrial facilities, and other locations throughout the world to reduce foreign object debris. Contact the company today to learn more about how FOD Boss can help control FOD at your facility.

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