For Immediate Release

December 23, 2011
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: 202-267-3488


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that commercial service airports, regulated under Part 139 safety rules and federally obligated, have a standard Runway Safety Area (RSA) where possible. The RSA is typically 500 feet wide and extends 1,000 feet beyond each end of the runway. The FAA has this requirement in the event that an aircraft overruns, undershoots, or veers off the side of the runway. Many airports were built before the 1,000-foot RSA length was adopted some 20 years ago, and it is not practicable to achieve the full standard RSA. This is due to obstacles such as bodies of water, highways, railroads, and populated areas or severe drop-off of terrain.

The FAA began conducting research in the 1990s to determine how to ensure maximum safety at airports where the full RSA cannot be obtained. Working in concert with the University of Dayton, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation (ESCO) of Logan Township, NJ, a new technology emerged to safely arrest overrunning aircraft. EMAS uses crushable concrete placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight concrete and the aircraft is decelerated as it rolls through the material.

Benefits of the EMAS Technology

The EMAS technology improves safety benefits in cases where land is not available, or not possible to have the standard 1,000-foot overrun. A standard EMAS installation extends 600 feet from the end of the runway. An EMAS arrestor bed can be installed to help slow or stop an aircraft that overruns the runway, even if less than 600 feet of land is available.

Current FAA Initiatives

The Office of Airports prepared an RSA improvement plan for the runways at approximately 575 commercial airports in 2005. This plan allows the agency to track the progress and to direct federal funds for making all practicable improvements, including the use of EMAS technology. Of the approximately 1,000 RSAs at these airports, an estimated 65 percent have been improved to full standards, and an estimated 87 percent have been improved to the extent practicable, not including the relocation of FAA-owned navigational equipment.

Presently, the EMAS system developed by ESCO using crushable concrete is the only system that meets the FAA standard. The FAA has conducted research through the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) that examined a number of alternatives to the existing approved system. ACRP Report 29, Developing Improved Civil Aircraft Arresting Systems, is available at the Transportation Research Board.

Many of the EMAS beds installed prior to 2006 need periodic re-painting to maintain the integrity and functionality of the bed. The EMAS manufacturer has developed improved plastic seal coating for EMAS beds. This new coasting should eliminate the need for the periodic re-painting.

EMAS Arrestments

To date, there have been eight incidents where EMAS has safely stopped overrunning aircraft with a total of 235 crew and passengers aboard those flights.

May 199930A Saab 340 commuter aircraft overran the runway at JFK
May 20033A Gemini Cargo MD-11 overran the runway at JFK
January 20053A Boeing 747 overran the runway at JFK
July 20065A Mystere Falcon 900 overran the runway at Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina
July 2008145An Airbus A320 overran the runway at ORD
January 201034A Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jet overran the runway at Yeager Airport in Charleston, WVA
October 201010A G-4 Gulfstream overran the runway at Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, NJ
November 20115A Cessna Citation II overran the runway at Key West International Airport in Key West, FL

EMAS Installations

Currently, EMAS is installed at 63 runway ends at 42 airports in the United States, with plans to install three EMAS systems at three additional U.S. airports.

AirportLocation# of SystemsInstallation Date(s)
( ) Bed replaced
* Widened in 2008
** General aviation airport
+ Reliever airport
JFK InternationalJamaica, NY21996(1999)/2007
Minneapolis St. PaulMinneapolis, MN11999(2008)
Little RockLittle Rock, AR22000/2003
Rochester InternationalRochester, NY12001
BurbankBurbank, CA12002*
Baton Rouge MetropolitanBaton Rouge, LA12002
Greater BinghamtonBinghamton, NY22002
Greenville DowntownGreenville, SC12003**
Barnstable MunicipalHyannis, MA12003
Roanoke RegionalRoanoke, VA12004
Fort Lauderdale InternationalFort Lauderdale, FL22004
Dutchess CountyPoughkeepsie, NY12004**
LaGuardiaFlushing, NY22005
Boston LoganBoston, MA22005/2006
Laredo InternationalLaredo, TX12006
San Diego InternationalSan Diego, CA12006
TeterboroTeterboro, NJ22006+/2011
Chicago MidwayChicago, IL42006/2007
Merle K (Mudhole) SmithCordova, AK12007
Charleston YeagerCharleston, WV12007
ManchesterManchester, NH12007
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Intl.Wilkes-Barre, PA22008
San Luis ObispoSan Luis Obispo, CA22008
Chicago-O’HareChicago, IL22008
Newark Liberty InternationalNewark, NJ12008
Charlotte Douglas InternationalCharlotte, NC12008
St. Paul DowntownSt. Paul, MN22008+
Worcester RegionalWorcester, MA22008/2009**
Reading, RegionalReading, PA12009**
Kansas City DowntownKansas City, MO22009+/2010
Smith ReynoldsWinston-Salem, NC12010
New Castle CountyWilmington, DE12010
Key West InternationalKey West, FL12010
Arcata-EurekaArcata, CA12010
Telluride RegionalTelluride, CO22010
Palm BeachPalm Beach, FL12011
RepublicFarmingdale, NY12011
Martin CountyStuart, FL22011
LafayetteLafayette, LA1summer 2011
Cleveland HopkinsCleveland, OH2fall 2011
GrotonGroton-New London, CT2fall 2011
Augusta StateAugusta, ME2fall 2011

Additional projects currently under contract

AirportLocationNo. of SystemsExpected Installation Date
Elmira-CorningElmira, NY1summer 2012
BinghamtonBinghamton, NY1summer 2012 (replacement bed)
LoganBoston, MA1fall 2012 (replacement bed)