Keeping airplanes in the air and on schedule is a complicated task, one that involves a lot of people performing many different jobs. From the pilots and aircrew to air traffic controllers and security personnel, there are a lot of people working very hard to get air travelers where they need to go.

There’s one aspect of the flying process that is often overlooked and little understood by most people, however, and that’s the crews that keep runways clean. You’ve probably seen airport sweepers being dragged across runways between takeoffs and landings but may not appreciate just how important they are to the flying process. Let’s take a closer look at these tools, also called FOD sweepers and runway sweepers, and what makes them so important.

FOD – An Important Part of Runway Control

If you don’t work at an airport, you might not be familiar with the term, “FOD.” FOD is an acronym for “foreign object debris” or “foreign object damage,” and it is an important concept in site safety and quality control for aviation and aerospace, as well as warehousing, shipping, and similar environments.

As you can probably guess from the name, FOD refers to debris, particles, and other substances that can collect on runways. These foreign objects can present a danger to aircraft, airport equipment, passengers, and airport crew.

When it comes to airport safety, even small objects that aren’t where they are supposed to be can present a danger. Small objects and pieces of debris can be sucked up into airplane engines, create surface hazards on runways, and present other types of dangers or delays. As such, keeping runways clear of such foreign debris is an incredibly important task that must be performed regularly, and it requires the most effective tools to be done both efficiently and well.

What kind of foreign object debris can be found on runways? The examples are many, and include:

  • Tools and loose hardware
  • Broken pavement
  • Rocks, branches, sand, and loose vegetation
  • Loose luggage and tags
  • Birds and other wildlife
  • Pens, coins, personnel badges
  • Articles of clothing

Runway Sweepers

Because keeping foreign objects off of runways is such an important task, airport sweepers were developed specifically to make sure runways stay as clean as possible. Objects that are too small to be seen from a distance can still present a danger to aircraft and personnel, which means most airports conduct routine FOD checks on runways and taxiways, of which runway sweepers are an important part. Runway sweepers are designed to pick up and carry away even the smallest bits of debris, making sure that foreign objects don’t damage planes or delay flights.

Aerosweep’s runway sweepers are some of the best in the industry and have an impressive record in keeping airports across the world safe and running smoothly. Want to find out more about Aerosweep and our sweeper products? Contact us today at +61 (0)3 9894 2100 to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members.