Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Walk at Greenville Downtown Airport

On Saturday,March 18th (rain date March 25th), volunteers will gather at 7:15 a.m​. ​at the Greenville Downtown Airport Terminal lobby (100 Tower Drive, Greenville, SC 29607) for a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) walk. Why?  Because “FOD is responsible for a significant amount of aircraft damage each year and is a threat to aircraft safety.  It can damage tires, engines, wind screens and airframes.  The Concorde crash in Paris in 2000 was due to FOD'” stated Keat Pruszenski, a local upstate aviation enthusiast, who is organizing this event. “I was told by a friend who works at an airline that they have to replace 4-5 wind screens (aircraft windshields) every week due to FOD blown on them from jet blasts.  There have been many studies that show the cost for FOD due to damage to aircraft every year is in the Millions of Dollars,” added Pruszenski.

What is FOD?  It is anything that should not be on the airport surfaces where aircraft have movement.  Common items are things that can fall off of people or out of shirt pockets like badges, hats, pens, pencils, cell phones, and pocket lights.  Some items come off of aircraft or vehicles moving in the area like tire valve caps, aircraft lens lights, screws, nuts and bolts.  Other items are naturally occurring like sticks, acorns, rocks and pavement particles that have come loose from the surface.  Many other things have been found like golf balls, socks, drill bits, water bottles, rubber bands, duct tape and wire.

The process involves a team of volunteer FOD inspectors walking in lines, spaced about 10 feet apart, to find and pick-up any foreign objects that might cause damage to aircraft.  Items are secured in individual bags during the walk, then consolidated, counted and a FOD index of pieces per 1,000 square meters of area inspected is determined.  The index can be compared to the score of other airports and to a later survey to determine the success of the airport in controlling possible FOD on a regular basis.  FOD is so important to most military airports that they conduct a FOD walk every day to prevent unserviceable aircraft.

“FOD is everyone’s responsibility on a daily basis at an airport.  Airport employees, tenants and pilots dispose of FOD all day long.  We also have a street sweeper that we use to collect FOD.  If you see it, you pick it up.  That is the rule,” stated Joe Frasher, Airport Director at GMU. “A FOD walk determines how well we are doing and where improvement may be needed,”  added Frasher.

Please join us at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, March 18th (rain date March 25th) at the Greenville Downtown Airport Terminal lobby to start a FOD walk at 7:30 a.m.  We will walk all runways, taxiways and aprons and finish with donuts and coffee in the Terminal lobby.  We expect to be finished with the walk by​ 9​:00 a.m.  PLEASE BRING A FLASHLIGHT.  We will have bags.

“We need your help to continue to make GMU the safest airport that we can,” stated Frasher.  Please email Keat Pruszenski at and tell him if you can make it.

About GMU

GMU is the busiest general aviation airport and third busiest airport overall in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn’t rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest Fixed Base Operator (FBO) in S.C., as well as more than 25 other aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the Upstate economy. For more information about GMU please visit or contact Joe Frasher at 864-242-4777 or


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Contact Lara Kaufmann

Attached are photos taken from a past GMU FOD walk.