A Falcon 20 cargo plane that slid off the runway at Chicago Executive Airport in January was stopped by the runway's Engineered Material Arresting System, and airport Executive Director Jamie Abbott has been invited to Japan to discuss how the airport handled the situation.
The company that makes the blocks, Zodiac Aerospace, said Abbot did such a good job of putting the airport and blocks back in order that they are "using him as a spokesman in a way," Wheeling Village Trustee and Chicago Executive Airport Board Member Ray Lang said.
"They are sending him to Japan to talk to folks at the Japanese equivalent of the FAA to talk about the same blocks," Lang said.
Chicago Executive Airport spokesman Rob Mark said Abbott will head to Japan around Labor Day, adding that the accident had proved the system's value.
The Engineered Material Arresting System is made of blocks that look like to concrete, but the consistency is different. The blocks that make up the system crush easily when an aircraft strikes, and they dissipate the plane's energy.
Panels damaged in the crash were on the south end of the airport's main runway.
"We had asked him to take good logs of everything that took place -- from towing the plane out to ordering new blocks -- so he did and it paid off," Lang said.
Mark says crews got the system repaired ahead of the originally predicted schedule.