Foreign Object Debris (FOD)

Reader Submission


I’m a regional pilot (fairly low time), and as such I’m still pretty new to aviation. A lot of what I have to go on, is either word of mouth, or guidance from whatever Captain I might be working with at the time. I want to talk about FOD. When reporting it to ATC, what exactly do you “Need” to know? How descriptive should we as pilots be? I don’t want to tie up the freq with unnecessary information, but I want to get someone out to resolve the situation. Thanks. Love what you guys are doing btw. Keep it up.

-Flyguy (but don’t put that, because I don’t want to get roasted)-

Dear Flyguy,

I’m sorry to not honor your request for anonymity in regards to your handle (if I have to see that, I’m gonna make everyone else’s stomach turn as well). Before I can answer your question, we must first ask ourselves; “What is FOD?” The F Hey Hey website defines FOD as:

“As defined in AC 150/5210-24, Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management, FOD is 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.”

The best way to handle a FOD report, is to keep it as simple as possible. For example; “There’s a turtle on the left edge of runway 18L, near touchdown. It looks like its headed towards the centerline”. Boom! Now we’ll dispatch airport ops to go out and save that little buddy, so he can grow up to become a Ninja Turtle or something. If it’s something that you would want to know about when you were about to land or takeoff, then say something. It’s not gonna bother the controller at all. Sure, if it’s something dangerous enough to shut down the runway for a bit, it’ll be an inconvenience to resequence planes to another runway, but that little bit of inconvenience is better than a mishap.

It’s imprtant to be specific about the location, because we are gonna relay it to the ops people. Sometimes the “Telephone Game” happens if you aren’t specific as to the location. If you tell us “The middle of the runway”, it’ll potentially take longer to find, than if you said “near the four board on the south side”.

Not all FOD is crated equal. A McDonald’s cup blowin in the breeze isn’t as bad as some Rebar sticking up, with a bunch of joint sealant everywhere. That’s not to say a McDonald’s cup can’t make some shit happen. Anyway, I hope I answered your question. To be honest I’m a little distracted with my lazy Saturday, sitting with the wife and dogs…watching Stargate on Amazon Prime. The special effects do surprisingly holding up, although I can’t stop thinking of Robert California everytime Spader speaks. Screw this…I’m switching to Netflix and gonna watch some of The Office. Cheers Y’all.


If you liked this article check out our “Ask an ATCer” article on Visual Approaches.



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Written by ATC Memes

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