Keeping the Runway Clean Is Now a Little Easier

 - February 18, 2013, 1:45 PM
Xsight’s FODetect operates like a small radar unit.

Israel’s Xsight has developed its new FODetect system to help airport managers keep runways clear during rainstorms or even in the middle of the night. Using a small swiveling radar transmitter and sensor unit installed near the runway’s edge, the FODetect beam sweeps the runway as often as every 30 seconds and, like traditional radar, highlights–both visually and aurally–objects as tiny as a rivet that may have fallen unnoticed from vehicles. The operator watching the FODetect screen will also see a high-resolution image of the object that caused the alarm. During nighttime hours, the unit uses a laser pointer to indicate objects on the runway to airport personnel. The crash of an Air France Concorde in July 2000 soon after takeoff from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was attributed to the supersonic jet running over a piece of metal that had fallen off the Continental Airlines DC-10 that departed just a few minutes before. The metal was not detected prior to the Air France flight taking the runway for takeoff.