Wed, Jun 07, 2006
Will Add EMAS To Two Runways
Six months after a tragic runway overrun at Chicago's Midway
Airport, the FAA has authorized $15 million to be spent in an
effort to ensure such an event will never happen again.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports the money will be used to begin
construction of soft concrete beds -- known as the Engineered
Materials Arresting System -- at ends of two of Midway's four
runways. The EMAS system consists of bricks designed to collapse
under the weight of a speeding jet, slowing the aircraft down
before it can run off the end of the runway.
In April, Chicago city officials submitted a $40 million
proposal to the FAA to install the concrete beds at the ends of all
its runways... and while Midway didn't get all the money requested,
the FAA believes it will give Midway a good place to start.
"We wanted to get them started on it because the work is so
important," FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said to the Associated
Such a system may have been able to stop the Southwest Airlines
jet that crashed through a perimeter fence and
onto a nearby road on December 8, 2005, striking a
passing car and killing a 6-year-old boy inside.
Midway is one of nearly 300 commercial airports nationwide that
don't meet the FAA's requirement for 1,000-foot safety zones at the
end of runways -- but the installation of EMAS will bring Midway
Congress has said all affected airports need to either meet the
1,000-foot requirement -- or provide alternatives -- by 2015.
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