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Runway Status Lights Debut at Washington-Dulles

July 25, 2013

Runway status lights (RWSL) are now operational on runways and taxiways at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD).

The fully automated lighting system is being implemented at airports throughout the U.S. as part of a program to help enhance runway safety. The lighting system provides direct runway status information to pilots and surface vehicle operators indicating when it is unsafe to enter, cross, or takeoff from a runway. It requires no input from controllers as it processes information from surveillance systems and then activates runway entrance lights and takeoff hold lights in accordance with the motion and velocity of the detected traffic.

Light fixtures embedded in the pavement are directly visible to pilots and vehicle operators.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to have RWSLs operational at 23 U.S. airports by the end of 2016.


Learn more about RWSL including a program overview, pilot reference guide and video demonstrations.

View a RWSL runway/taxiway diagram for IAD.