Bennett Coetsee, 6, and seven-year-old Beau Shankle show off debris they found on the runway.
Air traffic was shut down temporarily at the Greenville Downtown Airport on Saturday morning as volunteers collected debris on airport surfaces.
About 40 to 50 people assembled into four teams, scanning the airport's ramps, taxiways and runways in-search of foreign object debris.
Foreign object debris is anything that should not be on airport surfaces. These include items like pens or sunglasses that fall from people's possession, to items from planes including nuts, bolts and tire caps. Foreign object debris also includes natural items like sticks, rocks and loose pavement.
"It's very dangerous on airports when any loose impediments like rocks or screws fall off and gets sucked up into an engine or blown into another aircraft. They spend a fortune on aircraft windscreen because of foreign object debris," said Joe Frasher, director of the Greenville Downtown Airport.
Walking shoulder to shoulder, volunteers kept their vision to the tarmac, searching for foreign objects and placing them into yellow bags. Julie Shankle, 35, brought her son Beau Shankle, 6, and nephew Bennett Coetsee, 7, to the event. Minus a dead bird, found by her son and nephew, Shankle said she hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary. "(We've) been picking up nuts and bolts and pieces of planes. Just things that could be a danger to flyers," she said.
Allan Austin, 62, a private pilot, said he just wanted to do his part. Austin said he's been flying for 10 years.
"This is preventive approach to keeping our airport in good shape. We wanted to come out and give back and help keep the airport clean," Austin said.
Opened in 1928, the airport employs about 200 and services close to 65,000 operations, Frasher said.
"This is the community's airport and we want to bring people out here as much as we can and make it something they can appreciate and enjoy." Frasher said.