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Stratech’s iFerret™ Tackles Major Runway Hazards Faced By Airports Today
Corporate Digest | 09 January 2011
By:

By Stratech

The presence of Foreign Object & Debris (FOD) in the airport environment has been a major threat to aircraft safety. FOD has the potential to damage aircraft during critical phases of flight, which can lead to catastrophic loss of life and airframe, and at the very least increased maintenance and operating costs1. The importance of FOD prevention is most tragically evidenced by the Air France Concorde crash at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in July 2000.

Recently, a French court ordered Continental Airlines to pay Air France more than S$1.7 million in damages relating to the crash of the Concorde jet that resulted in 113 deaths. The French court established that titanium debris dropped by the Continental aircraft onto the airport runway before the Concorde took off was to blame for the crash. Investigators said the debris gashed the Concorde’s tire, propelling bits of rubber into the fuel tanks and sparking a fire2.

Urgent Need For A FOD Detection Solution

This tragedy clearly reinforces the critical need for a real-time, automated airfield/runway surveillance and FOD detection system.

In September 2009, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an advisory circular (AC) on Airport FOD Management, specifying the standards for FOD monitoring. To encourage faster take-up rate in the US, major US airports can receive substantial federal grants if they adopt FOD monitoring systems that fulfil these standards.

Fully designed and developed in Singapore, Stratech’s iFerretTM system is an advanced vision-based technology that addresses the FOD challenges of the aviation industry today. It complies with the FOD monitoring standards specified in the US FAA AC. Based on the independent tests conducted by the FAA at Changi Airport Singapore and O’Hare International Airport USA, the multi-award wining iFerret™ achieved proven detection rate of 96.6 % to 100% for different FOD (in shape, size, colour) under varying environmental conditions.

At the prestigious Air Traffic Control (ATC) Global Awards in 2010, Stratech’s iFerretTM system won the Innovation Award which is slated for enterprises that have raised the performance of air traffic management. Other awards include the Asia Pacific InfoComm Technology Award (APICTA) in 2006 which recognises the best innovation from across the Asia Pacific region.

Comprehensive FOD Detection By iFerretTM
Using Stratech’s intelligent Vision software and state-of-the-art Electro-Optic (EO) Sensors to automatically detect, locate, classify and record FOD, iFerretTM is the only system in the market that can enable airports to monitor not just runways, but also taxiways, aprons and other airfield areas. Upon detection of FOD, iFerretTM enables airport operators to zoom in to the detected FOD for visual verification before sending a remote alert to ground crew to remove the FOD.

Furthermore, iFerretTM is the only FOD detection system with continuous video recording feature. It has been proven to be of tremendous benefit for airports in post-incidents investigation, for example FOD events, aircraft tyre burst incidents, emergency landing of aircraft, etc. To illustrate, iFerretTM was able to trace the source of a recent aircraft tyre burst incident right down to the specific tyre of the aircraft within minutes, as a further demonstration of its investigative power.

Tackling Poor Visibility And Other Major Hazards

The 2000 Singapore Airlines accident in Taipei which killed 83 occupants was a tragic reminder of another airport hazard, where authorities often face great difficulties viewing the runway and other airfield areas at night or in severe weather conditions. With its impressive night visibility capability, iFerretTM can alleviate the long-standing problem and radically improve safety levels for airports’ night operations. Furthermore, iFerretTM has also been tested to perform under extreme weather conditions of haze and heavy rainfall.

Another major safety concern for aircraft takeoff/landing is pavement conditions of the airports. The FAA has issued an AC for maintaining airport pavements, stating common causes for pavement distresses. The circular went on to recommend that airports should continuously conduct “routine maintenance, rehabilitation, and upgrading” of airport pavement. With proven capability to detect abnormal pavement conditions including pavement cracks, tarmac potholes, pavement deterioration and even snow accumulation, iFerretTM can provide constant pavement condition monitoring to further enhance the safety levels for airports around the globe.

iFerretTM, Premier Airport Surveillance And FOD Monitoring System

iFerret™ has been commissioned at international airports such as Changi Airport (Singapore) as well as a major European airport to ensure their runway and apron are free from FOD.

With its comprehensive safety features such as continuous video recording, impressive visibility at night and extreme weather conditions and pavement condition monitoring, Stratech’s iFerret™ is the premier airport surveillance and FOD monitoring system that all airports can leverage on as an integral part of their airport FOD management program to enhance aviation safety.

1 Source: US FAA Advisory Circular on Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management

2 Source: The Straits Times, 6 December 2010


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