Chicago Executive Airport share experience of two successful EMAS arrestments – saving lives.
Interview with Andrew Wolanik, Director of Operations & Maintenance at Chicago Executive Airport – a business general aviation airport north of Chicago. Topics they address in the interview related to the two successful EMAS arrestments are: Weather conditions, lives saved, EMAS repair, recoveries, vehicle on EMAS, when they could open runway again, EMAS maintenance and inspections.
Andrew talks about the first incident in January 2016:
“- It was about, roughly 03:00 or 04:00 in the morning. We had a Falcon 20 come in. It was pretty, low IFR that day. We were out there actually for snow removal operations, kind of in advance of it. If it’s like 37 and rainy you’re going to want to be out there. They did land on the runway, and they end up making it in, making our first save at the airport. Because of it, we do have two lives saved from the start.”
The second EMAS arrestment happened about 22:00 at night and Andrew continues:
“- I think it was 2019 or 2020. I can’t remember now. We had a Falcon 900 come in. Same situation. We were out there doing snow removal operations. We did report a value of 333. So, we had a quarter inch either dry or wet snow at the time. We had good MU values, in the sixties, using a Bowmonk decelerometer. With the new RCAM, it’s a little bit different than it was. We reported on the depth. We had about a quarter inch.
They did come in and they were hitting brakes hard as well. But they didn’t go in as far, thankfully. I went up getting that one out, in about three hours. So that was the quicker of the recoveries. The first one, it took us 12 hours.
By the time it went in, until the time we got to open our main runway – after the initial response too, we’re able to get our secondary runways open while we cleaned that up.”
So up overall, we were able to get the runway open as soon as possible. Which is what we’re trying to always do at our airport
Todd Gressick: “- What about the actual repair of the EMAS, was that very quick or was it a long process?”
Andrew Wolanik: “- The longest process was just the development. And it wasn’t even a long process. You guys (meaning Runway Safe) required to have a certain amount of them on hand too. It’s just the logistics you know. You must get them, you got to transfer them, and then said about runway closure. But it was not like a long “oh it’s a Covid related delay” or anything. Just the general, manufacturing process. Everybody gets it, so.
The one thing I really enjoyed about it and working with the contractor. Which you know, personally, we’ve known well over the years. They got it in in less time than they actually planned for. Which is amazing too. Which always helps the tenants and users, working for Chicago Executive airport. We want to keep them satisfied as much as possible. Even the second repair went even quicker.
I think we planned three nights total, and like, you know, we try and plan reasonably. But a little bit conservatively. And they did it in one night. I think they were done about three or four hours earlier than planned too. That’s great for that specific time. So up overall, we were able to get the runway open as soon as possible. Which is what we’re trying to always do at our airport.”
After a description of the arrestments and the repair, Todd was interested to learn more about Chicago Executive’s maintenance on the EMASs.
Todd Gressick: “- Do you guys do a lot of inspections or repair work?”
Andrew Wolanik: “-We do the actual monthly inspection which involves walking the EMAS bed. Checking all the joints, re-taping, re-caulking etc. As long as you stay on top of it, which we have over the years. As your (meaning Runway Safe’s) inspectors will know when they come out, that we have a pretty good bed. As far as the maintenance aspect of it, we do our monthly EMAS inspections. We drive by, we walk on it, check all the joints and seals. We re-caulk as necessary, we re-tape constantly, and as your inspectors will say, that we have a decent EMAS bed. Which is great to know. Knowing that we’re taking care of them pretty well. The one thing too is, we have one of our EMAS beds really close to where the actual blast comes, just due to the configuration why we have EMAS in the first place. Even with that, the bed still holds up pretty well I must say.”
We do the actual monthly inspection which involves walking the EMAS bed
Todd Gressick: “-So that’s the bed that’s been hit twice then?”
Andrew Wolanik: “-That’s one that’s been hit twice as well.
I forgot to even add in the first place. We had a third replacement too. But we did have a road vehicle in the middle of the night, drive on the airport and did take the bed at a high rate of speed. It thankfully didn’t crush on the EMAS blocks at all, but we didn’t want to have that repaired. Just because some of them were compromised, you could feel by physically walking on them, you feel them crush underneath.
Thankfully nothing was punctured. But we were able to get that fixed up pretty quickly too. That one involved a little more blocks than normal, so that repair in theory, took a little bit longer. But overall, it was very, very quick. The contractor was magnificent to getting that done.”
Prefer to view the video? Listen below.
We thank Andrew Wolanik for his time and that he are willing to share his experience with two successful EMAS arrestments at the Chicago Executive Airport.
Interview with Andrew Wolanik, former Director of Operations & Maintenance at Chicago Executive Airport – a business general aviation airport north of Chicago. Topics covered in the interview related to the two successful EMAS arrestments are:
- Weather conditions,
- lives saved
- EMAS repair
- vehicle on EMAS
- when they could open runway again
- EMAS maintenance and inspections.
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