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Logan Airport Unveils Debris Detection System For Runways

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – As planes fly in and out of Logan Airport, one of the most dangerous hazards they face is debris.

It’s called FOD, short for foreign object debris, that’s left on the runways. It can be parts from other planes. It’s what’s blamed for the 2000 Concorde crash in France.

Ed Freni, Director of Aviation at Massport explains, “There was debris left from a departing aircraft at Charles de Gaulle. The debris from that aircraft was on the runway. It was hit by the Concorde. It spooled up, shredded the tire of the Concord, and it the fuselage which caused the crash.”

Now at Logan’s Runway 927, there’s a first in the nation effort to detect this debris to ensure safety and cut down on delays.

Freni says, “It’s instantaneous response where we can go out and take care of the issue immediately.”

The sensors are constantly scanning 180 degrees. They’re attached to lights every 200 feet on both sides of the runway. They send back live video feeds. When they detect debris, the GPS coordinates direct staff to the exact location to remove it from the plane’s path.

The price tag for the one runway project: $1.7 million, half was paid by the FAA. The FAA expects Miami to be the next airport to install the sensors.

Massport will still have people doing visual checks three times a day, to keep as many watchful eyes as possible on the runways.

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