For Immediate Release

November 24, 2014
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: 202-267-3488


Background

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is actively working to improve runway safety areas (RSAs) at commercial service airports by the end of 2015. The RSA is typically 500 feet wide and extends 1,000 feet beyond each end of the runway. It provides a graded area in the event that an aircraft overruns, undershoots, or veers off the side of the runway. Many airports were built before the current 1,000-foot RSA standard was adopted approximately 20 years ago. In some cases, it is not practicable to achieve the full standard RSA because there may be a lack of available land. There also may be 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 improve 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 material placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. The tires of the aircraft sink into the lightweight material 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 can stop an aircraft from overrunning the runway at approximately 80 miles per hour. An EMAS arrestor bed can be installed to help slow or stop an aircraft that overruns the runway, even if less than a standard RSA length is available.

EMAS Manufacturers

As of October 2014, there are two FAA-approved manufacturers of an EMAS product.

EMASMAX® is the latest, most durable version of ESCO’s EMAS, developed with and technically accepted by the FAA. EMASMAX arrestor beds are composed of blocks of lightweight, crushable cellular cement material designed to safely stop airplanes that overshoot runways.

Runway Safe EMAS is a foamed silica bed which is made from recycled glass and is contained within a high-strength plastic mesh system anchored to the pavement at the end of the runway.  The foamed silica is poured into lanes bounded by the mesh and covered with a poured cement layer and treated with a top coat of sealant. 

Both EMAS products are located at the end of the runway and are typically the full width of the runway. The length depends on the airport configuration and the aircraft fleet using the airport.

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 67 percent have been improved to full standards, and an estimated 96 percent have been improved to the extent practicable, not including the relocation of FAA-owned navigational equipment.

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

EMAS Arrestments

To date, there have been nine incidents where EMAS has safely stopped nine overrunning aircraft with a total of 243 crew and passengers aboard those flights.

Date Crew and Passengers Incident
May 1999 30 A Saab 340 commuter aircraft overran the runway at JFK
May 2003 3 A Gemini Cargo MD-11 overran the runway at JFK
January 2005 3 A Boeing 747 overran the runway at JFK
July 2006 5 A Mystere Falcon 900 overran the runway at Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina
July 2008 145 An Airbus A320 overran the runway at ORD
January 2010 34 A Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jet overran the runway at Yeager Airport in Charleston, WVA
October 2010 10 A G-4 Gulfstream overran the runway at Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, NJ
November 2011 5 A Cessna Citation II overran the runway at Key West International Airport in Key West, FL
October 2013 8 A Cessna 680 Citation overran the runway at Palm Beach International in West Palm Beach, FL

EMAS Installations with ESCO EMAS

Currently, ESCO's EMAS is installed at 81 runway ends at 51 airports in the United States, with plans to install 14 EMAS systems at 10 additional U.S. airports.

Airport Location # of Systems Installation Date(s)
( ) Bed replaced
* Widened in 2008
** General aviation airport
***replaced by Runway Safe EMAS (one bed replaced with three more planned to be replaced)
*** retrofitted bed
+ Reliever airport
JFK International Jamaica, NY 2 1996(1999)/2007 (2014)
Minneapolis St. Paul Minneapolis, MN 1 1999(2008)
Little Rock Little Rock, AR 2 2000/2003
Rochester International Rochester, NY 1 2001
Burbank Burbank, CA 1 2002*
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Baton Rouge, LA 1 2002
Greater Binghamton Binghamton, NY 2 2002 (2012)/2009***
Greenville Downtown Greenville, SC 1 2003**/2010***
Barnstable Municipal Hyannis, MA 1 2003
Roanoke Regional Roanoke, VA 1 2004
Fort Lauderdale International Fort Lauderdale, FL 4 2004, 2014
Dutchess County Poughkeepsie, NY 1 2004**
LaGuardia Flushing, NY 2 2005 (2014)
Boston Logan Boston, MA 2 2005/2006 (2012) (2014)
Laredo International Laredo, TX 1 2006/2012***
San Diego International San Diego, CA 1 2006
Teterboro Teterboro, NJ 3 2006+/2011/2013
Chicago Midway Chicago, IL 4 2006/2007****
Merle K (Mudhole) Smith Cordova, AK 1 2007
Charleston Yeager Charleston, WV 1 2007
Manchester Manchester, NH 1 2007
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Intl. Wilkes-Barre, PA 2 2008
San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA 2 2008
Chicago-O'Hare Chicago, IL 2 2008
Newark Liberty International Newark, NJ 1 2008
Charlotte Douglas International Charlotte, NC 1 2008
St. Paul Downtown St. Paul, MN 2 2008+
Worcester Regional Worcester, MA 2 2008/2009**
Reading, Regional Reading, PA 1 2009**
Kansas City Downtown Kansas City, MO 2 2009+/2010
Smith Reynolds Winston-Salem, NC 1 2010
New Castle County Wilmington, DE 1 2010
Key West International Key West, FL 1 2010
Arcata-Eureka Arcata, CA 1 2010
Telluride Regional Telluride, CO 2 2010
Palm Beach Palm Beach, FL 1 2011
Republic Farmingdale, NY 2 2011/2013
Martin County Stuart, FL 2 2011
Lafayette Lafayette, LA 2 2011/2013
Cleveland Hopkins Cleveland, OH 2 2011
Groton Groton-New 2 2011
  London, CT    
Augusta State Augusta, ME 2 2011
Elmira-Corning Elmira, NY 1 2012
Trenton-Mercer Trenton, NJ 4 2012/2013
New Bern New Bern, NC 1 2012
Memphis Memphis, TN 1 2013
Burke Lakefront Cleveland, OH 1 2013
San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4 2014
T.F. Green Providence, RI 1 2014
Addison Addison, TX 1 2014

Additional ESCO projects currently under contract

Airport Location # of Systems Expected Installation Date
Newark Newark, NJ 1 fall 2015
Key West Key West, FL 1 spring 2015
Kodiak Kodiak, AK 2 summer 2015
T.F. Green Providence, RI 1 summer 2015
Reagan National Washington, DC 3 1 in fall 2014 and in 2 2015
Rutland Rutland, VT 1 fall 2015
Chicago Executive Wheeling, IL              1 fall 2014
Monterey Regional Monterey,CA          2 spring/summer 2015
Nome Airport Nome, AK 1 summer 2015
Oakland International Oakland, CA 1 summer 2015

EMAS Installations Using Runway Safe EMAS
Currently, Runway Safe EMAS is installed at 1 runway end at 1 airport in the U.S., with plans to install 3 EMAS systems at 1 U.S. airport.

Airport Location # of Systems Installation Date
Chicago Midway Chicago, IL 1 fall 2014

Additional Runway Safe projects currently under contract

Airport Location # of Systems Expected Installation Date
Chicago Midway Chicago, IL 3 2015

 

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