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Paulding airport implements airplane safeguard program
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
January 30, 2013 01:35 PM | 1403 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Airport Authority Committee Member Kerry Tidmore looks for debris during a runway inspection at Paulding Airport.
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Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport is implementing a safety program to protect planes and individuals from potentially dangerous objects left on runways.

The Foreign Object Damage program, also called the Foreign Object Debris program, will be a 12-minute multimedia initiative used to train all airport employees on how to keep debris off the runways, said Kerry Tidmore, an airport authority board member who manages the program for the airport.

“The [debris program] will become a cornerstone of the safety management system for the airport,” Tidmore said.

Runway debris can be anything from nuts and bolts to soda cans.

They pose a danger because they can puncture tires, destroy engines or cause body damage. Debris can come from a variety of sources, including airplanes or adjacent land from which objects can be washed onto the tarmac by rain.

The multimedia program emphasizes the danger by featuring a photo of an Air France plane which caught on fire and crashed, killing 113 people in 2000 because of an 8-inch titanium strip left on the runway. Airport officials found the strip had fallen off another plane.

Similar events can be avoided with a debris program in place, Tidmore said.

“FOD [debris] costs the aerospace industry $4 billion a year,” he said.

The program requires trained individuals to travel the runway once a week to check for and pick up objects which could be dangerous. Also, airport personnel will walk the runways four times a year to search for anything which would not be easily “digested” by a plane’s engines, Tidmore said.

The program classifies the items as, “Any object, live or not, located in an inappropriate location in the airport environment that has the capacity to injure airport or air carrier personnel and damage aircraft.”

Specific canisters will be placed throughout airport property to dispose of the debris.

The only individuals allowed on the runway without the proper training will be customers stopping to buy gas.

Right now the airport is not required to implement such a training program, but officials believe it could become a federal requirement of all airport users or workers, said airport Director Blake Swafford.

“We are looking in the future,” he said.

The program will be posted to the airport’s website, Tidmore said. Initial training will begin in February, and should be implemented by March 1, he said.

Funds needed for the program are minimal — about $200 — which will come from the airport’s general budget, Swafford said.
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