Friday, January 12, 2007


FOD is an acronym that pilots use to describe things on the runway what shouldn't be there. Stands for Foreign Object Debris. Covers things like bits of runway equipment, rocks, frozen-solid shorts-wearing rampers, and the like. In the spirit of military acronyms, this three letter designation was clearly crafted so that it would sounds funny when you say it. And it does... just let that roll off your tongue a minute. FOD. FOD. Feel the amusment begin at F, and crescendo into full-blown hilarity as you round the bend into the D. You really didn't need three letters (or the three words they were culled from) to describe a turtle on a runway. It doesn't have to be called a foreign object debris. It's an object. But then, you couldn't have just O as an acronym. Maybe I've watched too much Muppet Show in my time, but "There's an O on the runway," has me looking for a ten-foot bright orange letter O out the cockpit window. And foreign object doesn't cut it either, because FO stands for First Officer, and since part of his job is to walk around the plane inspecting it, it's a given that he's gonna be out there. Not to mention that it'll have me looking for the Hecho en Mexico stamp on the side of whatever it is on the runway, to ensure that it is not actually a DO, or Domestic Object. And there will be no end of trouble if someone reports one of those, because a lot of pilots come from the South, and will break out deer rifles at that report, regardless of what season it is. No, clearly, there needed to be a concise, specific, and managerially overblown acronym to describe junk (which is four letters and therefore way too long to be saying while taxiing an aircraft), and so Foreign Object Debris. Though, now that I think about it, that would cover things like, say, if the ten-foot letter O had just finished its Dr. Pepper and threw the can on the runway, but not the actual O itself. Time for another acronym, obviously! I submit FONDL, or Foreign Object Nascent Debris Leaver. I guarantee that calling a FONDL on the runway will draw the appropriate attention from all personnel.


Blogger Aviatrix said...

If it helps, the original acronym is Foreign Object Damage, referring to what happens to the engines if said turtle goes through the fan blades. We say that the engine was "FODded" so therefore the stuff that did it became FOD, too. And yeah, it's just as well that the stuff that didn't wasn't the FO.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor turtle!

2:53 AM  

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