With the cooperation of Mother Nature, last Friday crews completed the installation of EMAS blocks at the departure end of Addison Airport’s Runway 15. With the last block set in place, crews began the finishing touches such as installing the yellow chevron pavement markings. Other aspects include laying the asphalt for the access road west of the runway and continued work on the rainwater harvesting system.
Give or take a few days, installing the EMAS blocks took two weeks. To some that may seem like a long time to install a bunch of 4-foot by 4-foot square blocks, but as the photos here hint, it is really a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces have different thicknesses rather than irregular outlines. Each one must be placed in precise order and fixed in place. If not, the resulting dimensional domino effect impacts all the blocks installed after it, which can affect its effectiveness and durability. So, as any craftsman will tell you, measure twice to do the job right on the first attempt.
September 13, 2014 is the estimated final completion date for the project. When it’s finished, Addison Airport’s Runway 15/33 will still have an overall length of 7,203 feet. But thanks to EMAS, the stretch of pavement airplanes can use when landing Runway 15 will be 611 feet longer because the engineered material arresting system enables use of runway pavement that had to be counted as part of the runway safety area (RSA) to achieve an FAA-standard 1,000 foot RSA. In testing EMAS with its Boeing 727, the FAA deemed a 600-foot EMAS equal to the 1,000-foot safety area it would like to see at the end of every runway. While Addison’s EMAS measures only 352 feet in length, it can safely stop aircraft – up to and including a Boeing 737 – running off the runway end at speeds up to 70 knots. Installing the system has been a temporary inconvenience that will provide increased safety and airport capabilities for years to come.