RWSL Designed to Eliminate Runway Confusion, Improve Safety

The Runway Status Lights (RWSL) system is likely coming to an airport near you soon, with 17 airports across the country scheduled to have RWSL by the end of 2017. RWSL is a fully automatic advisory safety system designed to reduce the number and severity of runway incursions, and prevent runway accidents while not interfering with airport operations. “This whole system runs in the background as an additional layer of safety,” noted Bridget Gee, from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. But it can also lead to confusion for pilots, who may receive instructions from ATC that are inconsistent with the lighting system. Gee advises, “If the lights are in conflict with ATC instruction, just don’t go.”

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