Heathrow leads the world's aviation industry at UK's first ever global FOD conference

Friday 19, November 2010


Heathrow leads the world's aviation industry at UK's first ever global FOD conference


Aviation industry leaders from across the globe met at Heathrow last week to discuss best practice and innovation in FOD (foreign object debris) detection.


Loose objects on the airfield cost the global aviation industry $6bn each year and pose a continued safety risk. Heathrow is at the forefront of innovation in FOD detection and in association with QinetiQ decided to host the conference to explore how the industry can work together to exploit technological advances and develop new methods to improve FOD management.


As a leader in FOD management, Heathrow has embraced the use of technology. The installation of QinetiQ's Tarsier radar system in 2008 and the later addition of infra-red cameras has been a sophisticated aid to the regular human inspections the AOSU team carry out several times daily. It has greatly improved the airport's ability to more swiftly remove FOD before an issue occurs and demonstrates the role technology can play in this area.


At the conference, delegates gained a comprehensive insight into the industry's procedures and visions for the fight against FOD.


Colin Wood, Airside Operations Director, said:

"The conference was a great success, bringing together aviation leaders from around the world representing airports, airlines, regulators and solution manufacturers. The ultimate aim across the industry is to eliminate FOD at its various sources and delegates gained a unique insight into the different approaches taken. This conference will provide a springboard to improve safety across aviation and I am proud that Heathrow is leading the way."


Among the delegates were the members of the Eurocae Working Group on FOD. Dominic Walker, Chairman for the group and Business Development Director at QinetiQ said "I'm quite excited by the work that we can do in the Eurocae Working Group, the body of expertise is quite unique."


Kirsten Riensema, Head of Aerodrome Standards, Safety Regulation Group, CAA,  said:

 "Foreign Object Debris on any part of the airfield represents a risk to aviation safety, and health & safety. The aviation community must continue to work together to address this risk.  This conference was a good way for stakeholders to gain an improved understanding of the issue and to share thoughts and best practice to mitigate the risk."



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