Runway Status Lights at San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Runway Entrance Lights at SAN

The FAA selected SAN to be the second airport to test the prototype Runway Status Lights (RWSL) system designed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, ARCON Corp., and the FAA to help reduce and prevent runway incursions and accidents. RWSL at SAN is a fully automatic, advisory safety system which operates independent of air traffic control using airport surveillance data from the ASDE-X system and advanced safety logic.

In 2006, Runway Entrance Lights (RELs) were installed at select taxiways on Runway 9/27. The FAA has extended operational evaluation of the prototype RWSL at SAN with continued support from ARCON Corporation and MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

The (below) graphic is a runway diagram of SAN with locations of in-pavement RELs marked with red bars on runway 9/27.

RELs Locations
North side at Taxiways C1, C2, and C6
South side at Taxiways B1, B6, and B10
Operational status of RWSL at SAN
will be broadcast on the ATIS

Diagram of RWSL at SAN
Diagram of RWSL at SAN

Operational Concept Animation

SAN Movie is an animated simulation of a typical arrival and departure event:
  • Press “A” to view an arrival
  • Press “D” to view a departure

For Arrivals:

  • All RELs are simultaneously illuminated based on distance. The distance is one nautical mile from the end of the runway.
  • When the aircraft decelerates through approximately 75 knots, RELs downfield are turned off except for the intersection the aircraft is approaching.
  • All the RELs are turned off when the aircraft slows to taxi speed.

For Departures:

  • All RELs in front of the aircraft are illuminated when an aircraft transitions from a taxi to a departure.
  • All RELs are turned off when the aircraft transitions from a departure to an airborne status (wheels off the ground and positive rate of climb).
  • For departure aborts, when the aircraft decelerates RELs will be turned off.

For both arrivals and departures, RELs are turned off prior to an arrival or departure passing an intersection to allow for anticipated separation. Each individual intersection can be optimized.

Download a standalone version

Mac (
Mac (SAN_entrance.swf)

PC (
PC (SAN_entrance.exe)

SAN Arrival