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Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Technology & NextGen Airport Research . Airport Safety Technology R&D . 2008 Eastern Region Airport Conference, Hershey, PA. Jim Patterson. Tuesday March 18, 2008. Introduction. FAA’s Airport Safety Technology R&D SubTeam

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foreign object debris fod detection technology nextgen airport research
Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Technology &

NextGen Airport Research

Airport Safety Technology R&D

2008 Eastern Region Airport Conference, Hershey, PA

Jim Patterson

Tuesday March 18, 2008


FAA’s Airport Safety Technology R&D SubTeam

  • Part of the Airport Technology R&D Team located at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ
  • Combined Workforce of 24 Federal and Contractor Personnel
  • Offices reside at the FAA’s National Airport Pavement Test Facility

Airport Technology R&D Branch (Team)

Airport Pavement R&D Section (Subteam)

Airport Safety Technology R&D Section (Subteam)

Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting


Surface Traction

Visual Guidance

Operation of NLA

Airport Design

Airport Safety R&D

discussion today
Discussion Today:
  • FOD Detection Technology Update
  • NextGen Airport Technology Research
automated fod detection why is the faa interested
Automated FOD DetectionWhy is the FAA Interested?

“It has become clearer that this was a unique accident caused by a one-off chance of a piece of metal lying on the runway“.    

-Concorde crash preliminary report

automated fod detection
Automated FOD Detection

FOD Detection Concept:

Could avian based radar systems be used to detect FOD?

Could FOD be automatically detected?

Could airport operator be alerted quickly?

Can we prevent another Concorde incident?

automated fod detection faa goal
Automated FOD DetectionFAA Goal

Develop performance standards for Automated FOD Detection Systems.

Publish Technical Note documenting research.

Develop FAA Advisory Circular specifically for FOD Detection Systems.

Enable civil airports opportunity to apply for Federal funding to procure systems.

automated fod detection available technologies

QinetiQ – Tarsier Radar – Providence, RI (PVD)

Millimeter Wave Radar

Mounted on Rigid Towers

Stratech – iFerret – Chicago O’Hare (ORD)

High Resolution Camera

Mounted on Rigid Towers

X-Sight – FODetect – Boston Logan (BOS)

High Resolution Camera and Millimeter Wave Radar

Mounted on Airport Lighting Fixtures

Trex Enterprises – FOD Finder – Chicago Midway (MDW)

Millimeter Wave Radar and Infrared Cameras

Mounted on roof of Airport Vehicle

Automated FOD DetectionAvailable Technologies:
automated fod detection1
Automated FOD Detection

QinetiQ – Tarsier Radar

Providence, RI

automated fod detection2

QinetiQ Tarsier Radar

Stratech iFerret

XSight FODetect

Trex Enterprises FODFinder

Automated FOD Detection
airport nextgen connection1
Airport NextGen Connection

Bird Eat Bird in a Cluttered Sky - The New York Times reports on the delay blame-game between the airline industry and corporate jets. The Air Transport Association says the explosive growth of corporate jets is the real culprit behind delays. But users of private jets retort that airlines are offering them up as scapegoats. “The airlines have overscheduled everything so if the smallest weather pattern develops, you have cascading delays all day long,” says Steve Brown of the National Business Aviation Association, a group representing owners of private business aircraft. However, independent observers say corporate flights are also responsible for some of the logjam, especially in congested cities like New York and Los Angeles. Michael Baiada, a consultant in airline operations and a Boeing 747 captain for United Airlines, says the airlines must take more responsibility for delays and improve their own internal systems. But he agrees that corporate jets are increasing the strain on controllers.

New Runway? – 10 to 20 yrs (environmental requirements and opposition)

New Airports? – Nearly impossible. Only 2 built in last 40 years (DFW and DEN)

airport nextgen connection2
Airport NextGen Connection

By 2025, U.S. air traffic is predicted to increase two to three times. The traditional air traffic control system will not be able to manage this growth.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), is the solution.

airport nextgen connection3
Airport NextGen Connection

NextGen is an example of active networking technology that updates itself with real-time shared information and tailors itself to the individual needs of all U.S. aircraft. NextGen's computerized air transportation network stresses adaptability by enabling aircraft to immediately adjustto ever-changing factors such as: weather, traffic congestion, aircraft position via GPS, flight trajectory patterns, and security issues.

By 2025, all aircraft and airports in U.S. airspace will be connected to the NextGen network and will continually share information in real time to improve efficiency, safety, and absorb the predicted increase in air transportation.

airport nextgen connection4
Airport NextGen Connection

NextGen was enacted in 2003 by President Bush and Congress under VISION 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176).

In this initiative, the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) is responsible for managing a public/ private partnership to bring NextGen online by 2025.

The JPDO is the central organization

that coordinates the specialized efforts

of the Departments of Transportation,

Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce,

FAA, NASA, and the White House Office

of Science and Technology Policy.

airport nextgen connection5
Airport NextGen Connection

“NextGen is not intended to identify specific locations for new airport development or specific infrastructure needs (e.g., runways, terminals, gates) at existing airports. Rather, the NextGen effort is examining concepts that can advance the capabilities of existing infrastructure and enable new infrastructure to be developed as needed.” - JPDO Integrated Work Plan for NextGen

airport nextgen connection6
Airport NextGen Connection

The Operational Improvement roadmap for Airport Operations was developed with the following considerations:

Major capacity gains will be achieved from maximizing use of existing infrastructure, through both the increasing use of secondary airports and new Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) procedures that increase airport efficiency.

Some major airports that are at or near capacity today may not be able to reasonably expand to support up to a threefold increase in aircraft operations or a 1.8- to 2.4-fold increase in passenger movements. This will drive development of other airports in congested metropolitan regions.

Congestion and the “hassle factor” will drive some passenger choices as to whether to travel on scheduled carriers with connections through hub airports or seek transportation via regional airports with (scheduled/ nonscheduled) nonstop service.

airport nextgen connection7
Airport NextGen Connection

The Operational Improvement roadmap for Airport Operations was developed with the following considerations (Con’t):

Secondary airports will expand by promoting higher levels of service to both aircraft operators and passengers, potentially pushing integration into the hub-and-spoke system and stimulating changes in the airline business models (e.g., more point-to-point service).

Concurrently, new aircraft technology will allow long-range flights with medium seating capacity aircraft at competitive yields, thus promoting point-to-point service to smaller airports.

nextgen airport tech r d
NextGen & Airport Tech R&D

Many of the major focuses of NextGen are on the airborne aspects of the NAS, with regards to weather, separation, communication of aircraft.

It is important that we not

forget about the airport

surface itself, and how

the increased level of

operations will dramatically

affect our airports


“Future is in the Sky” by Turk Hava Kurumu

nextgen airport tech r d1
NextGen & Airport Tech R&D

Ultimately, our research needs to focus on, and keep ahead of, the NextGen trend.

- More attention to smaller airports.

  • Keep costs low for end user.
  • Make solutions easy to deploy.
  • Testing/monitoring techniques for end user need to be quicker.
  • Solutions need to be adaptable to ALL airports.

While airport safety/design are not directly mentioned in the NextGen plan, we must align our research with the program.

The Airport Technology R&D Branch must be ready to answer the call as the NextGen program matures.

NextGen is a complicated program that is contingent on integration of numerous other systems that are still under development. Now is the time to initiate this work!

Regardless of how many aircraft are flying, where they fly, or how close they fly together, they still need to land and takeoff at an airport. That’s where we fit in the puzzle!


Airport Safety R&D

FAA Technical Center

Airport Technology R&D Branch

AAR-411/AJP-6311, Building 296

Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405 609-485-4989