Fact Sheet – Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS)

by King Aircraft Title, Inc. on June 5, 2013

For Immediate Release

June 5, 2013
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 90 percent have been improved to the extent practicable, not including the relocation of FAA-owned navigational equipment.

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 web site at http://www.trb.org/ACRP/.  Presently, all EMAS installations are done by ESCO.

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 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.

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

EMAS Installations

Currently, EMAS is installed at 69 runway ends at 45 airports in the United States, with plans to install five EMAS systems at four additional U.S. airports.

Airport Location # of Systems Installation Date(s)
( ) Bed replaced
* Widened in 2008
** General aviation airport
*** retrofitted bed
+ Reliever airport
JFK International Jamaica, NY 2 1996(1999)/2007
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 2 2004
Dutchess County Poughkeepsie, NY 1 2004**
LaGuardia Flushing, NY 2 2005
Boston Logan Boston, MA 2 2005/2006 (2012)
Laredo International Laredo, TX 1 2006/2012***
San Diego International San Diego, CA 1 2006
Teterboro Teterboro, NJ 2 2006+/2011
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 1 2011
Martin County Stuart, FL 2 2011
Lafayette Lafayette, LA 2 summer 2011/2013
Cleveland Hopkins Cleveland, OH 2 fall 2011
Groton Groton-New 2 fall 2011
  London, CT    
Augusta State Augusta, ME 2 fall 2011
Elmira-Corning Elmira, NY 1 summer 2012
Trenton-Mercer Trenton, NJ 2 summer/fall 2012
New Bern New Bern, NC 1 2012

Additional projects currently under contract

Airport Location # of Systems Expected Installation Date
Teterboro Teterboro, NJ 1 summer 2013
Trenton Trenton, NJ 2 summer 2013
Memphis Memphis, TN 1 summer 2013
Republic Farmingdale, NY 2 2011/2013
Newark Newark, NJ 1 fall 2014
San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4 summer 2014
Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 2 fall 2014 or spring 2015

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: