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Invention of the Low Profile Barricades

The Problem

Nearly all airport construction projects near active aircraft require clearly marked boundaries which must not interfere with operations. Until requirements were standardized, railroad ties weighted with sandbags were often used to mark boundaries but they were problematic. They introduced foreign object debris (FOD) onto the runway, creating hazardous conditions.

Why is FOD a big deal?

Foreign object debris (FOD) is a constant concern at every airport in the world. FOD can be as simple as a bolt or soda can that gets blown around the operational area of an airport. These simple objects can cause significant damage to all aircraft types. If the low hanging engines of a Boeing 737 ingest a bolt, the damage caused can be catastrophic.

“The global cost associated with FOD related damage is estimated at between $3-4 billion.” (Tuthill, W. CDR. (2000). FOD The Preventable Readiness Degrader.)

- NAFPI Newsletter. July, 2000.

A Bombardier Learjet 36A was taking off from Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia on March 26, 2007, when the crew heard a loud “pop”. Aborting the takeoff, the crew tried to control the “fishtailing” and activate the drag chute. The chute did not work and the Learjet ran off the runway, its tires blown. Airport personnel reported seeing rocks and pieces of metal on the runway after the accident. The NTSB said that the accident was caused by Foreign Object Debris (FOD) on the runway. Failure of the drag chute contributed to the accident.

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

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_object_damage

The Solution

In 1999 OTW Safety founder, Marc Christensen patented the first low-profile airport barricade and introduced this safer alternative to the market.

In FAA AC 150/5370-2E (Jan 2003), it was finally expressly prohibited to use railroad ties on runways.

Onward and Upward

Thanks to industry feedback we've made continuous improvements over the last 18 years.

1999 - 2003

  • Fabricated from rotationally molded plastic
  • Ballasted with water
  • Collapsible if impacted by an aircraft
  • Heavy enough to stand up to jet blast or prop wash

2004 - 2011

  • Switched to blow molding
  • Connection pin is integrated in solid mold
  • Interconnected and locked to prevent displacement by jet blast or prop wash
  • Active retention prevents flag from separating

Trusted by Major Airports Worldwide

The OTW airport barricade line was designed to eliminate any possibility of adding FOD to the airport operations area. From our patented interlock system to our flag retention methods and hardware-free hazard lights, we have worked hard to exceed FAA requirements and provide airports the safest, most reliable low profile barricades.