The other week I was lucky enough to be part of Gold Coast Airport’s FOD Walk, where we got to walk the entire length of the 5th busiest runway in Australia. A FOD walk is where the runway is checked for any foreign object debris that could cause damage, like say a piece of metal getting sucked into a jet engine which is not ideal. A group of us arrived early and were shuttled to the threshold of Runway 14 where we got to walk all 2492 meters. It was a great experience, being able to see the runway from an entirely new perspective and in such detail. It was amazing just to see how grooved the surface is, all the different lighting fixtures and the sheer scale while looking over the airport from a completely different perspective.
It was somewhat surreal, what is usually such a loud and busy environment was so still and quiet, a low fog just hanging over the grass. We got to see the sun rise over the Air Traffic Control Tower as we made our way down the runway and then once we reached Runway 32’s threshold, walked back to the front of the tower via the RPT apron on taxiway echo. Seeing everything from this angle was fantastic, and we were then treated to a BBQ breakfast and afterwards had the chance to look up close at Jetstar’s first 787 Dreamliner VH-VKA. It was incredible to see such a piece of engineering up close, what a change from a Cessna 172. I imagine it would be amazing to fly such a machine, such a privilege.
Afterwards, we had the chance to visit the ATC tower. Lucky for me it was my second time in the tower and was still just as cool as the first time, I have a lot of respect for what they do, it was great being able to look out over everything and gain a different perspective to my first time. All up it was a truly great experience, one that I’ll never get and I’m very happy I was able to be a part of. Gold Coast Airport, Air Services and all the staff were very accommodating and professional, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend it.