WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It's called EMAS: Engineered Material Arrestor System. To the average air traveler you may not even know it exists but to aviation safety experts, it's the best tool for any airport.
The system is currently being installed on the crosswind runway at PBIA. Essentially it slows an airplane considerably and keeps it from entering a busy road should it have to abort a takeoff.
"This is a very good thing. PBIA has taken an excellent step installing this feature," says David Bjellos, WPTV Aviation Expert. "EMAS has saved dozens of lives nationwide and having it installed here is a very smart move."
According to the FAA, the engineered materials are defined as "high energy absorbing materials of selected strength, which will reliably and predictably crush under the weight of an aircraft."
FAA reports indicate an EMAS is located beyond the end of the runway typically by 600 feet and centered on the extended runway centerline.
Wikipedia indicates as of October 8, 2010, EMAS installed at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1999 has successfully stopped three aircraft, including a Boeing 747.