FOD solution approved – but will the market respond?

The FAA has recently published its final performance assessment report on the FODetect system. The report follows an interim performance assessment.

Results show that the hybrid sensor solution, consisting of integrated radar and electro-optical sensors, meets or exceeds the highest level of performance in every parameter required by FAA regulation.

This did not surprise the developers and current users, but it may urge more airports to consider the installation of the Israeli-developed FODetect sensor for the detection of foreign object debris (FOD) on runways. The system was developed by XSight.

The tests were carried out on the hybrid sensor solution installed at Boston Logan airport, and were conducted by the FAA’s Williams J. Hughes Technical Center aviation research division, airport technology branch and the Center of Excellence for Airport Technology, along with the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

The final report stated that the FODetect system was able to detect objects of various shapes, sizes and materials on runway surfaces and perform satisfactorily at night, in daytime, in sun, rain, mist, fog and snow conditions, as required by FAA advisory circular 150/5220-24.

So, the FAA’s report should affect sales of the system. The question is how many airports will choose to install it, rather than continue using a team of FOD-spotters driving a car that patrols the runways between takeoffs and landings.

Technology solves problems, but this will not always create the budget to purchase and install it.

Anyhow, the FOD problem in airports now has a technological solution. The airports will have to weigh the advantages against the current situation based on the human eye.


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