EMAS Developers Win Sperry Award
Six professional engineering societies jointly presented the Elmer A. Sperry Award to the developers of the EMAS (engineered material arresting system), which helps prevent injury after runway overruns by stopping speeding aircraft in beds of specially engineered porous concrete. EMAS beds are typically used where normal runway safety areas are not available due to space constraints. The Sperry Award was given at the 29th Annual International Air Transport Conference to Peter Mahal, president of the EMAS division of Esco; Robert Cook, formerly of the University of Ohio-Dayton; Pam Phillips of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and James White of the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. Esco has installed EMAS beds at 22 airports, and thus far during five overrun accidents there have been no serious injuries. At JFK Airport, EMAS beds were used to stop an MD-11 in 2003 and a Boeing 747 in 2005.