Is there a name for drilled out rivets / rivet studs / fasteners that end up trapped in inaccessible areas like wings / horizontal stabilizer / control surfaces and rattle around when you taxi?

(I just started taxiing and discovered some rattles, would like to see the humorous side of this! Mark)

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FOD - foreign object debris is the official aerospace name for it. Seriously. I always end up with a few in there. I can usually get them out by tilting and shaking the parts prior to final assembly, but some always escape.

I like that! Now I can say "It's just FOD!"

On a more serious note, you kinda need to know what is really in there, and where it really is.

As an example, there have been numerous incidents over the years, on all types of planes, big and small, because something eventually ended up wedging into a control surface, cable, actuator, etc. and locking the controls. Nasty. You might think that a single rivet body from a drilled out rivet couldn't do that much damage, but that 3/16" bubble of compressed rivet is strong enough to resist human strength pulling on the yoke if jammed in a pulley or lodged someplace else.

Additionally, you might think that even small stuff can't do anything in the wing, but if you're running wires or a servo, or something else in there, and the connections haven't been adequately sealed with heat shrink tubing, a small twist could end up causing a short.

I'm not trying to be Donnie Downer here; just be diligent in trying to get the debris out during construction. I vacuum and blow-out all crevices, but I can still hear a faint sound when moving the parts.

I agree 100%


This problem can be resolved very easily - just add "FOD' to your pre-flight checklist, check to make sure the rattle is there, and you're good to go!  ;>)



I created 3 FODS last night in closing up L wing for final time. Got 

one out and have plan for other 2. mice or termites 

might be good names as well.

I have a drilled out rivet in my elevator so every time I preflight I get to hear the rattle. I keep telling myself 'next time' I'll get it out but not yet so far.....

I created 3 FODS last night in closing up L wing for final time. Got 

2 out, 1 possibly 2 more to go.

Love it! Again, just trying to find the humor in an "Oh shit" situation.

I had a few of these when I finished up my 801. Made a point of it to get ALL of them. Mainly because I knew they would just annoy me to death every time I preflighted and heard the elevator rattle. The mandrels are easy with a magnet, but the aluminum pieces are a challenge. Keep at it. It’s worth getting free of them. Best tools for me were a magnet, a bore scope and safety wire with tape to make a sticky end.

With a magnet on the exterior you may be able to move the critters to a point from which they can be removed. I've had success doing this.


If they are stems or heads off rivets, using rare earth magnets and a little ingenuity will get some out.


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