Runway Safety Improvements Pay Off at Chicago Executive Airport

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An aircraft that overran the runway at Chicago Executive Airport sits safely after being brought to a stop by the crushed EMAS pavement.

Recent improvements made at Chicago Executive Airport have already helped avert a serious situation after a Falcon 20 airplane overran the runway. An engineered material arresting system (EMAS) successfully decelerated the aircraft, resulting in no injuries to the two pilots on board and only minimal damage to the plane. CMT provided project management, permitting, planning, design and construction administration services for the installation of the EMAS, along with other improvements made at the airport in a $13 million runway safety area improvement program.

“The EMAS performed exactly as it was designed to do,” said Brian Welker, vice president and aviation group manager in CMT’s Aurora office. “Unlike new runways and other airfield project that you want to see meet or exceed traffic projection, when an EMAS is installed, you hope that an aircraft never reaches the arresting bed.”

An EMAS uses crushable material at the end of runway that causes an aircraft’s tires to sink and quickly decelerate should it overrun the runway. The system is particularly beneficial at tightly-constrained airports, such as Chicago Executive, that cannot accommodate the FAA-standard 1,000-foot runway safety area.

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