For Immediate Release

December 12, 2014
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: 202-267-3488


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  manufacturers of  EMAS products that meet the FAA requirements of advisory circular 150-5220-22A, “Engineered Materials Arresting Systems for Aircraft Overruns.”  The FAA must review and approve each EMAS installation .

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 ESCO’s EMAS has safely stopped nine overrunning aircraft with a total of 243 crew and passengers aboard those flights.

EMAS Arrestments
DateCrew and PassengersIncident
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
October 20138A 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 82 runway ends at 53 airports in the United States, with plans to install 12 EMAS systems at 9 additional U.S. airports.

EMAS Installations
AirportLocation# of SystemsInstallation Date(s)
( ) Bed replaced
* Widened in 2008
** General aviation airport
*** retrofitted bed
+ Reliever airport
JFK InternationalJamaica, NY21996(1999)/2007 (2014)
Minneapolis St. PaulMinneapolis, MN11999(2008)
Little RockLittle Rock, AR22000/2003
Rochester InternationalRochester, NY12001
BurbankBurbank, CA12002*
Baton Rouge MetropolitanBaton Rouge, LA12002
Greater BinghamtonBinghamton, NY22002 (2012)/2009***
Greenville DowntownGreenville, SC12003**/2010***
Barnstable MunicipalHyannis, MA12003
Roanoke RegionalRoanoke, VA12004
Fort Lauderdale InternationalFort Lauderdale, FL42004, 2014
Dutchess CountyPoughkeepsie, NY12004**
LaGuardiaFlushing, NY22005 (2014)
Boston LoganBoston, MA22005/2006 (2012) (2014)
Laredo InternationalLaredo, TX12006/2012***
San Diego InternationalSan Diego, CA12006
TeterboroTeterboro, NJ32006+/2011/2013
Chicago MidwayChicago, IL32006/2007****
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, NY22011/2013
Martin CountyStuart, FL22011
LafayetteLafayette, LA22011/2013
Cleveland HopkinsCleveland, OH22011
 London, CT  
Augusta StateAugusta, ME22011
Elmira-CorningElmira, NY12012
Trenton-MercerTrenton, NJ42012/2013
New BernNew Bern, NC12012
MemphisMemphis, TN12013
Burke LakefrontCleveland, OH12013
San FranciscoSan Francisco, CA42014
T.F. GreenProvidence, RI12014
AddisonAddison, TX12014
Chicago ExecutiveWheeling, IL12014
Reagan NationalWashington, DC12014

Additional ESCO projects currently under contract

Additional projects currently under contract
AirportLocation# of SystemsExpected Installation Date
NewarkNewark, NJ1fall 2015
Key WestKey West, FL1spring 2015
KodiakKodiak, AK2summer 2015
T.F. GreenProvidence, RI1summer 2015
Reagan NationalWashington, DC22015
RutlandRutland, VT1fall 2015
Monterey RegionalMonterey,CA         2spring/summer 2015
Nome AirportNome, AK1summer 2015
Oakland InternationalOakland, CA1summer 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.

EMAS Installations Using Runway Safe EMAS
AirportLocation# of SystemsInstallation Date
Chicago MidwayChicago, IL1fall 2014
Additional Runway Safe projects currently under contract
AirportLocation# of SystemsExpected Installation Date
Chicago MidwayChicago, IL32015