Aircraft Arresting Systems


  • Certain airports are equipped with a means of rapidly stopping military aircraft on a runway
    • This equipment, normally referred to as EMERGENCY ARRESTING GEAR, generally consists of pendant cables supported over the runway surface by rubber "donuts"
    • Although most devices are located in the overrun areas, a few of these arresting systems have cables stretched over the operational areas near the ends of a runway
  • Arresting cables which cross over a runway require special markings on the runway to identify the cable location
    • These markings consist of 10 feet diameter solid circles painted "identification yellow," 30' on center, perpendicular to the runway centerline across the entire runway width
    • NOTE: Aircraft operations on the runway are not restricted by the installation of aircraft arresting devices

Engineered Materials Arresting Systems (EMAS)

  • EMAS, which are constructed of high energy-absorbing materials of selected strength, are located in the safety area beyond the end of the runway
  • They are designed to crush under the weight of commercial aircraft and they exert deceleration forces on the landing gear
  • These systems do not affect the normal landing and takeoff of airplanes
  • NOTE: EMAS may be located as close as 35' beyond the end of the runway. Aircraft should never taxi or drive across the runway
Approach Light Systems
Figure 1: Aircraft Arresting Systems


  • More information concerning EMAS is in FAA Advisory Circular AC 150/5220-22, Engineered Materials Arresting Systems (EMAS) for Aircraft Overruns