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Workers clear debris from busy runway



By DAVID GOLDMAN

ATLANTA (AP) - Nearly 100 workers at the world's busiest airport are volunteering their time to pick up trash that could be dangerous when planes land and take off.

On Wednesday, the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was closed for about 30 minutes so employees could look for debris. According to the airport website, the fifth runway opened in 2006 and averages more than 100,000 landings and takeoffs per year.

Among the junk collected: pebbles, washers, ball bearings and small bolts. Damage from such debris is estimated to cost the aerospace industry $4 billion a year. Hartsfield-Jackson performs daily inspections on all its runways.

The airport serves more than 94 million passengers annually with nonstop service to more than 150 U.S. destinations and nearly 70 international destinations in more than 45 countries.

Click through AP's collection of photos showing volunteers cleaning the runway.

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kcaron1504 August 27 2014 at 5:32 PM

How comforting, speeding down the runway in an aircraft that has parts falling off.

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2 replies
cmcclarty kcaron1504 August 27 2014 at 6:34 PM

Thats what took down Concord a part from a Continental airliner.

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voegelid kcaron1504 August 28 2014 at 6:52 AM

Kcaron, that's not necessarily what they are referring to. It's called FOD, and it can come from anywhere, like getting debris getting caught in the groove of tires. A FOD check is done on all vehicle tires before they enter the flightline in the Air Force. Sure, some stuff could fall off an aircraft but it mostly it is carried in by tires, or the wind or jet blast, etc

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minion881 August 27 2014 at 5:15 PM

Really?? This is news? It's called a FOD walk and we do them every damn day in the AF....

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3 replies
fladvocatehoward August 27 2014 at 5:06 PM

with all the money the airlines and airport authorizes are making today,why do they not pay workers to do this,and instead help or volunteer to clean a senior citizen or disabled persons home or apartment??!!!

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1 reply
jamesleef150 fladvocatehoward August 27 2014 at 6:31 PM

why don't they buy a few super duper parking lot vacuum cleaners and just 2 people to walk behind them to check? because it's ran by a bunch of dumb asses just like like the gov. is

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Luna August 27 2014 at 5:48 PM

Wow They found pebbles. This is the startling oblect I believe. We need to find out who put the pebbles there and what their motives for doing that are.

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2 replies
entheoscht Luna August 28 2014 at 1:07 AM

ONE of those "pebbles" can tear the fins off a jet rotor and bring the plane down.
I hope you fly a lot.

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Kent Luna August 28 2014 at 1:54 AM

Having been to Georgia many times, you normally don't find pebbles in the red clay that far from a river, stream, creek, or lake. The soil in Georgia isn't rocky like it is in New Engand.

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Coffeemug32 August 27 2014 at 5:36 PM

I am with Kcaron......doesnt this bother that airport that their planes are losing bolts, washers and ball bearings??? YIKES!!!

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2 replies
Luna Coffeemug32 August 27 2014 at 5:52 PM

It's the pebbles that scare me.We all know pebbles grow up to be big boulders.

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Kent Coffeemug32 August 28 2014 at 2:01 AM

If pieces like bolts, washers, and ball bearings can fall off cars, trucks, and other pieces of machinery, why can't they fall off airplanes?

Think about it. First, a plane lands at well over 140 mph. While some pilots can set the plane down gently, sometimes a landing is hard, either because of gusting winds or a Navy pilot at the controls. That can shake something loose, just like a big pothole can cause damage (I cracked a tie rod once).

Upon landing, the engines spool up while the reverser buckets are closed, and the spoilers are deployed.

Then, at some point the spoilers are lowered, the engines are throttled back, the reverser buckets are opened, and the flaps and slats are retracted. With that much mechanical action, something is bound to come loose.

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lcbrwn2 August 27 2014 at 9:35 PM

did this every day in the Navy, FOD walks on the deck three times a day for years. Not sure why this is news. Any servicemen should be familiar with this.

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John Roberson August 27 2014 at 5:18 PM

so they volunteer so the executives can make larger bonuses. And the large corporations sponsor PGA golf tournaments so the CEO's cn go on TV and brag about how the tournaments are all for charity and how their employees do so much volunteer work. At the same time their employees will have to pay more for health care, while the executives get larger bonuses and salaries and the older workers are layed off.

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4 replies
John Roberson August 27 2014 at 5:26 PM

the employees today are told to volunteer to do charity work as I am sure these workers were told to volunteer else their jobs would be in jeopardy. Their bosses tell them it is a matter of corporate policy that all employees must volunteer. The fast food industry has been doing it for years by requiring that hourly worker perform work off the clock.

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3 replies
Debra August 27 2014 at 5:30 PM

I'll be skipping Atlanta on my way home...I'll reroute through Baltimore or Chicago now! thanks for the heads up!

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2 replies
buddwhyzr Debra August 27 2014 at 6:09 PM

Only difference is Atlanta cleans their runways. Baltimore doesn't and O'Hare's are covered in shell casings.

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2 replies
cmcclarty buddwhyzr August 27 2014 at 6:37 PM

LMAO you beat me to it thumbs up!

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buddwhyzr buddwhyzr August 28 2014 at 10:19 AM

cmcclarty------at least you get it! Read Kent's comment below.

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Kent Debra August 28 2014 at 2:14 AM

The runways at ORD and MDW aren't covered in shell casings. For one thing, the shootings don't take place near ORD, which is surrounded by hotels, offices, and upper-middle class suburbs, and the area around MDW is represented in Springfield by House Speaker Mike Madigan. Needless to say, crime in that area is low.

I'm sure that all airports have people walk the runways every now and then, because it's a necessity. A friend of mine lives in an airport community. Every so often, the residents walk the runway and taxiways looking for debris.

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1 reply
buddwhyzr Kent August 28 2014 at 10:17 AM

Kent-----seriously? What are you, an android? I figured you'd have a sense of humor, seeing as you're sporting a BEARS helmet!!!

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Ryan August 28 2014 at 12:57 AM

I don't understand why this airport doesn't have the supersized vacuum truck clean every day. During slow times, it can clean in a matter of a few minutes.

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