FAA Completes Runway Status Lights Rollout


All 20 airports slated to receive the FAA’s Runway Status Lights program are fully operational, says the agency. The RWSL is made up of lights embedded in the tarmac across runway crossings as well as at the departure hold zone; they illuminate when it’s unsafe for an aircraft to proceed. 

According to the FAA, “at the 15 airports where it was operational in 2017 [studies] found an overall 52% reduction in the average runway incursion rate, with 15,484 potential saves by the technology.” The system uses the airport’s “surface surveillance system to determine the location of aircraft and vehicles. The lights are fully automated, requiring no input from air traffic controllers,” notes the FAA, but “pilots and ground vehicle operators must still receive clearances from controllers for any operation on runways or taxiways.”

The system is active at these airports: Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, San Diego International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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