Fresno International Airport - Runway ‘11L-29R’ Extension and BAK 12/14 Relocation

Kory Andryscik*, Kimley-Horn
February 14, 2016
*Kory was the winner of the Young Professionals Program Competition at the 2015 ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium, which included an honorary feature article in the ACC Weekly.

PHOTO: BAK 12/14 system at the Fresno International Airport on Runway ‘11L-29R’

Using teamwork to catch runaway fighter jets.

The Fresno international Airport recently completed the Runway ‘11L-29R’ extension and BAK 12/14 Relocation project which included a 312 foot extension of the asphalt runway and reconstruction of the associated perpendicular end taxiways.  What made this project stand out or different from a typical runway extension project was the removal and replacement of the BAK 12-14 (Barrier Arresting Kit) system.  The Fresno International Airport is a mixed-use facility that includes the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard (CANG).  The 144th Fighter Wing fighter jets’ operations at the Airport require multiple BAK 12/14 systems.

The BAK 12/14 is an emergency arresting system that consists of a recessed steel cable in a trough that stretches across the Runway pavement.  On either side of the runway, the cable is attached to reinforced fabric tape, similar to an oversized tow strap, which runs through steel Fairlead beams and foundations.  The tape then connects to absorbers (braking systems).  The absorbers are located outside of the runway object free area (OFA) in concrete reinforced pits on each side of the Runway.

When there is a need for an emergency landing the BAK 12/14 system is activated and the cable is raised up a few inches above the existing runway pavement.  The fighter jet pilot that is utilizing the BAK system deploys their tail hook, the same tail hook you see used when aircraft land on an aircraft carrier.  Once the hook engages the cable, the two absorbers rapidly slow the jet from approximately 100 knots to a stop in just 1000 feet. This impressive sequence takes approximately 3 seconds.

As a young engineer taking on an unfamiliar task, I found that it was imperative to lean on my project team and outside resources.  Prior to this project, I had not designed or been involved with a project remotely close to the BAK 12-14.  This project taught me to really trust the individuals on our project team and to maintain constant coordination will all involved parties.  Only through working together were we were able to complete this project.

The BAK 12-14 system is impressive on its own; however, the coordination and teamwork that went into the construction of this system was even more impressive. As the acting Project Manager, there is no way that this project could have been completed without the partnership and support from many different organizations and their staff. I would like to recognize some of the participants that came together to make this project a success. First and foremost, the Fresno International Airport staff including the Airport Director Keven Meikle, Project Manager Mark Davis, and Construction Manager Jim Larkin; Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Simmons and Jeff Love of the California Air National Guard 144th Fighter Wing; Danny Warren from Teichert Construction; and Kevin Phelps (Civil), Dene Egami (Electrical), and Dave Leistiko (Structural) from Kimley-Horn.


Kory Andryscik P.E. is a project manager with Kimley-Horn. Kory has over 10 years of experience working in the aviation industry and he specializes in Airfield Design and Construction Management Services. He is a graduate of Michigan Technological University and currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife Amanda and two kids.