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Trump Running Mate’s 737 Slides Off the Runway at LGA, Causes Damage and Delays

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Last night, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence’s Boeing 737-700 slid off the runway as it landed at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Thankfully, no one on board was injured, but the incident did temporarily suspend flights coming into LGA.

Thursday night was rainy in New York, and press sitting in the back of the cabin said that they felt the plane fishtailing as they touched down. After the plane came to a sharp halt, emergency crews arrived on the scene.

A spokesperson told CNN that there was no structural damage to the aircraft, however, there was noticeable damage to LaGuardia’s runway. It’s still unclear, but it’s possible that the plane entered the Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) at the end of the runway. The EMAS system is designed to stop aircraft from overrunning the runway at about 80 miles per hour, slowing it down and hopefully stopping it. In the case of the Pence incident, the aircraft could have gone through the EMAS system before ending up in the grass at the side of the runway.

As of December 31, 2015, EMAS technology has been implemented at about 103 runways at 61 airports across the US. The EMAS technology is made up of absorbing materials that crush with impact of the weight of the aircraft, effectively pushing it “underground.”

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Used EMAS technology. Image courtesy of the FAA.

Since the incident on Thursday night, LaGuardia has reopened to flights both departing from and arriving at the airport on Runway 13 and 31. However, Runway 22 remains closed. As a result, there have been residual delays. I had a flight from LGA Friday morning, and the entire process might have been the quickest I’ve ever gotten through security — taxi and takeoff were delayed, but nothing beyond the standard time for LGA.

While I was sitting in the Admirals Club in Concourse D, I spotted the Trump/Pence plane, which was off to the side of the tarmac. There wasn’t much noticeable action around it, with the exception of a few stalled emergency vehicles off in the distance.

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Thankfully, everyone was safe in the Pence incident, and the aircraft stopped on the runway before continuing to slide. This is a great example of how technology is making flying safer than it’s ever been.

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