October 21, 1960: Aircraft Arresting Barrier Absorber

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Final testing began on the BAK-6 Aircraft Arresting Barrier Absorber on the South Base runway. Dubbed the “water squeezer,” the hydraulic energy absorber was designed to arrest fighter type aircraft on the overrun at speeds up to 160 knots. Test arrestments at various weights and speeds were conducted by F-100, F-101B and heavier aircraft such as the B‑47. The new hook-and-cable system was designed to replace the older MA-1 runway overrun chain barrier.

Aircraft arresting systems are designed to ensure that tactical military aircraft are able to stop on the runway during the landing roll or after a high speed rejected take off. This distinguishes them from an Engineered Materials Arresting System or net-type military aircraft barriers which are designed to mitigate the consequences of a runway overrun.  Arrestor Gear installations using cables are integral to the routine operation of military aircraft from aircraft carrier decks and from runways. Whilst some of the references at the end of this article include detailed information on military use of such systems, the purpose here is to consider the operational safety implications for civil aircraft which take off or land on those runways used by both civil and military aircraft which have cable-type arrestor gear installed. These systems are found worldwide at both civil airports where tactical military aircraft are accepted and at military bases where civil operations are permitted.

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