Fact Sheet – Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS)

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2020
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams
Phone: 202-267-3488


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) actively worked 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, now Runway Safe Inc 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

Runway Safe acquired the EMASMAX product range from ESCO as of February 2020. Runway Safe is the sole manufacturer of EMAS products that meet the FAA requirements of advisory circular 150-5220-22B, “Engineered Materials Arresting Systems for Aircraft Overruns.” Currently, Runway Safe has two EMAS systems, the cellular concrete block system called EMASMAX and the silica foam system called greenEMAS.

The FAA must still review and approve each EMAS installation.

EMASMAX® is the latest, most durable version of Runway Safe’s block based 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’s greenEMAS® 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.

The Runway Safe Group and Safran Aerospace Arresting (formerly Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation, or ESCO), a subsidiary of the Safran Group entered into an agreement for Runway Safe to acquire the ESCO EMAS business. This transaction was completed in February of 2020.

Current FAA Initiatives

The FAA’s Office of Airports has made RSA improvements at more than 500 commercial airports. This means that all practicable improvements, including the use of EMAS technology, have been made at approximately 1,000 runway ends at these airports. These RSAs have been improved to full standards or to the extent practicable, not including the relocation of FAA-owned navigational equipment.

EMAS Arrestments

To date, there have been 15 incidents where EMAS systems have safely stopped 15 overrunning aircraft, carrying 406 crew and passengers, aboard those flights.

EMAS Arrestments
Date Crew and Passengers Incident
May 1999 30 A Saab 340 commuter aircraft overran the runway at JFK Airport in New York
May 2003 3 A Gemini Cargo MD-11 overran the runway at JFK Airport in New York
January 2005 3 A Boeing 747 overran the runway at JFK Airport in New York
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 Chicago O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL
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
January 2016 2 A Falcon 20 overran the runway at Chicago Executive Airport in Chicago, IL
October 2016 37 A Boeing 737 overran the runway at LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, NY
April 2017 2 A Cessna 750 Citation overran the runway at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA
February 2018 4 A Beech Jet 400A overran the runway at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, OH
December 2018 117 A Boeing 737 overran the runway at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA
February 2019 1 An Embraer Phenom 100 overran the runway in Kansas City, MO

EMAS Installations with EMASMAX

EMASMAX is installed at 112 runway ends at 67 airports in the United States.

EMAS Installations
Airport Location # of Systems Installation Date(s)
+ 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 (2018)
Rochester International Rochester, NY 1 2001
Burbank Burbank, CA 1 2002* (2017)
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 (2019), 2014
Dutchess County Poughkeepsie, NY 1 2004**
LaGuardia Flushing, NY 4 2005 (2014)/2015
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 0 Replaced
Merle K (Mudhole) Smith Cordova, AK 1 2007
Charleston Yeager Charleston, WV 1 2007 (2019)
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 2 2008/2015
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 2 2010/2015
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 3 2011/2013/2016
Cleveland Hopkins Cleveland, OH 2 2011
Groton Groton-New London, CT 2 2011
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 3 2014/2015/2017
Addison Addison, TX 1 2014
Chicago Executive Wheeling, IL 2 2014/2015
Reagan National Washington, DC 3 2014/2015
Monterey Monterey, CA 2 2015
Oakland International Oakland, CA 1 2015
Nome Nome, AK 1 2015
Lehigh Valley Allentown, PA 2 2015
John Tune Nashville, TN 1 2015
Kodiak Kodiak, AK 2 2015
Rutland Rutland, VT 1 2015
Sikorsky Bridgeport, CT 1 2015
McAllen International McAllen, TX 1 2015
Sandiford Louisville, KY 1 2015
Venice Venice, FL 1 2016
Boca Raton Boca Raton, FL 2 2017
DeKalb/Peachtree Atlanta, GA 1 2018
Cuyahoga Cleveland, OH 2 2018
Lafayette Lafayette, LA 1 2018
Little Rock Little Rock, AR 1 2018
Oxford-Waterbury Oxford, CT 1 2018
Hilton Head Hilton Head, SC 2 2019
( ) Bed replaced
* Widened in 2008
** General aviation airport
*** retrofitted bed

EMAS Installations Using greenEMAS
greenEMAS is installed at four runway ends at one airport in the United States.

EMAS Installations Using Runway Safe EMAS
Airport Location # of Systems Installation Date(s)
Chicago Midway Chicago, IL 4 fall 2014/2015/2016