FOD Information and Prevention - What is FOD?

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) is a substance, debris or article alien to a vehicle or system which would potentially cause damage.

Foreign Object Damage (also abbreviated FOD) is any damage attributed to a foreign object (i.e. any object that is not part of the vehicle) that can be expressed in physical or economic terms and may or may not degrade the product's required safety or performance characteristics.

FOD is an abbreviation often used in aviation to describe both the damage done to aircraft by foreign objects, and the foreign objects themselves.[1][2]

"Internal FOD" is used to refer to damage or hazards caused by foreign objects inside the aircraft. For example, "Cockpit FOD" might be used to describe a situation where an item gets loose in the cockpit and jams or restricts the operation of the controls.

"Tool FOD" is a serious hazard caused by tools left inside the aircraft after manufacturing or servicing. Tools or other items can get tangled in control cables, jam moving parts, short out electrical connections, or otherwise interfere with safe flight. Aircraft maintenance teams usually have strict tool control procedures including toolbox inventories to make sure all tools have been removed from an aircraft before it is released for flight. Tools used during manufacturing are tagged with a serial number so if they are found they can be traced.

The "Damage" term was prevalent in military circles, but has since been pre-empted by a definition of FOD that looks at the "debris". This shift was made "official" in the latest FAA Advisory Circulars FAA A/C 150/5220-24 'Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment' (2009) and FAA A/C 150/5210-24 'Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management'.

Eurocontrol, ECAC, and the ICAO have all rallied behind this new definition. As Iain McCreary of Insight SRI put it in a presentation to NAPFI (August 2010), "You can have debris present without damage, but never damage without debris." Likewise, FOD prevention systems work by sensing and detecting not the damage but the actual debris.

Thus FOD is now taken to mean the debris itself, and the resulting damage is referred to as "FOD damage".

Internationally, FOD costs the aviation industry US$13 billion per year in direct plus indirect costs.

The indirect costs are as much as ten times the indirect cost value, representing delays, aircraft changes, incurred fuel costs, unscheduled maintenance, and the like for a total of $13 billion per year[3] and causes expensive, significant damage to aircraft and parts and death and injury to workers, pilots and passengers.

It is estimated that FOD costs major airlines in the United States $26 per flight in aircraft repairs, plus $312 in such additional indirect costs as flight delays, plane changes and fuel inefficiencies.[4]

"There are other costs that are not as easy to calculate but are equally disturbing," according to UK Royal Air Force Wing Commander and FOD researcher Richard Friend.[5] "From accidents such as the Air France Concorde, Flight AF 4590,[6] there is the loss of life, suffering and effect on the families of those who died, the suspicion of malpractice, guilt, and blame that could last for lifetimes.

This harrowing torment is incalculable but should not be forgotten, ever. If everyone kept this in mind, we would remain vigilant and forever prevent foreign object debris from causing a problem. In fact, many factors combine to cause a chain of events that can lead to a failure."

In the United States, the most prominent gathering of FOD experts has been the annual National Aerospace FOD Prevention Conference. It is hosted in a different city each year by National Aerospace FOD Prevention, Inc. (NAFPI), a nonprofit association that focuses on FOD education, awareness and prevention.

Conference information, including presentations from past conferences, is available at the NAFPI Web site.[2] However, NAFPI has come under some critique as being focussed on tool control and manufacturing processes, and other members of the industry have stepped forward to fill the gaps.

BAA hosted the world's first airport-led conference on the subject in November 2010

To find out more about the specifics and examples of FOD and FOD Damage please go here courtesy of

Please View Our (FOD) Signs And Frames Page

Article Highlights


Airbus A320 Family of Aircraft Engine Fan Cowl Door Loss Incidents Timelines

November 30, 2018, an Airbus A320-214 operated by Frontier Airlines lost the fan cowl doors of engine no.2 upon takeoff from Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, Nevada, USA. This incident was at least the 45th fan cowl door loss event involving an Airbus A320-family aircraft.

In July 2015 the U.K. AAIB published an investigation report into a fan cowl door loss accident involving an Airbus A319. Prior to this May 2013 accident , there were a total of 34 previous occurrences of fan cowl door loss on Airbus A320-family aircraft, including 21 events for aircraft fitted with IAE V2500 engines and 13 events for aircraft fitted with CFM-56 engines. Following the A319 accident, three further instances of fan cowl door losses occurred, bringing the total number of occurrences to 38.

ASN was able to trace 29 occurrences, of which seven after the publication of the AAIB report, bringing the total to at least 45 occurrences.

A common safety issue among these incidents is the fact that the cowl doors were not closed and latched following maintenance. This was not detected by the engineers, nor by flight crew members during the walk-around check. The design of the fan cowl door latching system, in which the latches are positioned at the bottom of the engine nacelle in close proximity to the ground, increased the probability that unfastened latches would not be seen during the pre-departure inspections.

A talk on the issue by Dr K I Kourousis of the University of Limerick in this YouTube video:


Timeline of occurrences and regulatory actions:



no occurrences known to ASN



no occurrences known to ASN


  • 20 January 2000; A320-231 of Airtours International at London-Gatwick, U.K.
  • 12 June 2000; A320-232 of America West at Las Vegas, USA
  • 13 September 2000; A320-232 of Skyservice at Toronto, Canada
  • 11 October 2000: Transport Canada issues Service Difficulty Alert AL 2000-06: “Engine Fan Cowl Loss”
  • 31 October 2000: DGAC France issues AD 2000-444-156(B), mandating fan cowl door latch improvements.


  • 5 September 2001: DGAC France issues AD 2001-381(B), superseding AD 2000-444-156(B), and requiring the installation of additional fan cowl latch improvement by installing a hold open device.


no occurrences known to ASN


  • 29 October 2003, FAA issued AD 2003-18-06, requiring that the door latches for engine fan cowls on certain Airbus airplanes be modified and that a new hold-open device be installed; all operators were required to comply by April 2005.



no occurrences known to ASN



  • 9 January 2008; A319-114 of Northwest Airlines at Detroit, USA
  • 6 May 2008; A319-132 of Spirit Airlines at Detroit, USA
  • 10 October 2008: NTSB issues safety recommendations A-08-79 through -82 on engine fan cowl separation prevention


  • 20 August 2009: FAA issues Notice 8900.91
    FAA issues Notice 8900.91 to its safety inspectors to educate operators about revising their maintenance program



  • 2 August 2011: FAA recognizes, after additional research that fan cowl latching issues are found predominantly with A319 and CRJ200 aircraft and “found no records indicating engine-fan cowl separation incidents due to improper latching since August 2008
  • 28 October 2011: NTSB closes recommendations A-08-79 through -82; three as ‘Unacceptable Action’, one as ‘Acceptable Action’
  • 30 November 2011; A320-232 of Wizz at Bucharest, Romania





  • 26 January 2015; A320-214 of flynas at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 14 July 2015 AAIB publishes 24 May 2013 A319 accident report with 5 safety recommendations (the report mentioned 40 cases of fan cowl loss events)
  • 31 August 2015: EASA issues recommendations to prevent loss of fan cowl doors on A320
  • 14 October 2015; A319-111 of Sky Airline at Santiago, Chile
  • 16 October 2015; A320-232 of Tigerair at Singapore


  • 14 March 2016: EASA publishes AD 2016-0053; which supersedes DGAC AD 2001-381(B), and requires modification and re-identification of fan cowl doors (FCDs) on IAE engined A320-family aircraft.
  • 13 June 2016; A320-232 of American Airlines at Phoenix Sky Harbor, USA
  • 19 September 2016; A320-232 of Aruba Airlines at Miami, USA


  • 29 June 2017: FAA issues AD AD 2017-13-10, superseding AD 2003-18-06; requiring modifying the engine fan cowl doors (FCDs), installing placards, and re-identifying the FCDs. The AD also adds airplanes to the applicability.
  • 25 July 2017; A320-232 of Bangkok Airways at Bangkok, Thailand


  • 7 March 2018; FAA issues AD 2018-05-04, requiring modification and re-identification, or replacement, of certain FCDs and installation of a placard. Applicable to CFM56 engined aircraft (A319/A320/A321 series -x1x); Compliance within 35 months
  • 8 August 2018; FAA issues AD 2018-16-03, requiring modification and re-identification, or replacement, of certain FCDs and installation of a placard in the flight deck of  A319-133 and A321-232 airplanes (IAE engines).
  • 25 October 2018; A320-232 of Vueling at Bilbao, Spain
  • 30 November 2018; A320-214 of Frontier Airlines at Las Vegas, USA
Original Post Courtesy of
Added Images

Shredded engine on Frontier flight 260 from Vegas to Tampa

Shredded engine on Frontier flight 260 from Vegas to Tampa Taken by an on board Passenger

Airbus A319 that lost fan cowl doors on takeoff (AAIB)

Airbus A320 Family of Aircraft Engine Fan Cowl Door Loss Incidents Timelines Click To Tweet