On Thursday, the campaign plane carrying Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence skidded off the runway after landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
At the time of the incident, there were 37 passengers and crew on board the rented Boeing 737 as it touched down on a wet and windy New York evening.
No injuries have been reported.
The positive resolution to a potentially disastrous event can be attributed to the Engineered Material Arresting System or EMAS located at the end of the runway.
The system is designed to prevent a runaway aeroplane from careening into the roads, buildings, and bodies of water commonly found near many airports.
EMAS is made up of massive blocks of material that collapse as the wheels of an aeroplane roll over it, thereby sinking the plane into the runway and bringing it to a safe and gradual stop. The system is designed to be able to stop aircraft travelling at speeds up to 80 mph.
The Federal Aviation Administration began studying the technology in the early 1990s in conjunction with the University of Dayton, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as Zodiac Arresting Systems in New Jersey.
According to the FAA, more than 60 airports around the US — Including JFK, LaGuardia, and Chicago O’Hare — have installed the technology.
Through January of this year, the FAA claims that the system has prevented 10 overrunning aircraft, with a total of 245 passengers and crew on board.
Currently, there are two manufacturers who are certified to produce an EMAS system. Most of the airports in the US with the technology use Zodiac Arresting Systems‘ (formerly ESCO) crushable cellular cement for its EMAS.
Others have gone with with a product by Runway Safe EMAS, which is made up of recycled glass-based silica foam.
Here’s a closer look at Zodiac Arresting System’s EMASMAX product: