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, is located in the safety area beyond the end of the runway, recognized by Yellow Chevrons [Figure 1]
  • 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 however, aircraft and ground vehicles should never taxi or drive across the EMAS or beyond the end of the runway if EMAS is present
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