Performance of the runway-status light system at Logan Airport
September 1, 1994
"Runway incursions are a persistent problem in airport ground-movement operations. Numerous critical conflicts and several fatal accidents have occurred as a result of unauthorized or otherwise inappropriate entry of aircraft or surface vehicles onto an active runway. Many of these conflicts developed quickly, leaving little time for effective intervention by either the controller or the pilots involved. A reliable system of automatic runway-status lights would be an effective way to prevent such time-critical incursions. The runway-status light system (RSLS) at Boston's Logan International Airport is an off-line proof-of-concept technology-demonstration system designed to show that automatically operated runway-status lights can promptly and reliably transmit runway-status information to pilots and surface-vehicle operators, thereby preventing unsafe runway entry or unsafe takeoff. The demonstration system does not include actual lights on the airport surface but has relied instead on an illuminated airport model board, which has allowed system development to proceed in a realistic operating environment of live airport traffic without interfering with airport operations. The results of an initial proof-of-concept assessment indicate that the system performs well, even though it is an early prototype. Missed-detection and false-alarm rates are low, and interference with normal airport operations promises to be negligible. The demonstration has shown the technical feasibility of a system of automatic runway-status lights.