SAN Runway Status Lights Training for Pilots and Vehicle Operators

Runway Status Lights
Runway Entrance Lights

The RWSL system is designed to automatically provide a direct status indication to pilots that a runway is unsafe to enter or cross with illuminated RED Runway Entrance Lights (RELs) and that a runway is unsafe for takeoff with illuminated RED Takeoff Hold Lights (THLs). In order to provide the desired level of safety without impairing the efficiency of the controller, the timing of the lights is critical. Pilots should recognize that the status light might be illuminated when the controller initiates a clearance, but they should be extinguished before the controller finishes issuing the clearance (if runway is safe). RWSL FUNCTIONS AUTOMATICALLY WITHOUT INPUT FROM AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AND THE SYSTEM IS NOT, AT ANY TIME, INTENDED TO CONVEY APPROVAL OR CLEARANCE TO PROCEED ONTO A RUNWAY.

Pilot protocol when viewing illuminated RELs:

  1. When the RELs illuminate, the flight crew should remain clear of the runway.
  2. When cleared to either “take off, cross the runway, position and hold, or for immediate takeoff”, and RELs are illuminated, stop the aircraft and indicate to Air Traffic Control (ATC) that you are stopped with red lights and then wait for further clearance.
  3. If the aircraft crosses the hold line and the flight crew subsequently observes illuminated lights, then, if practical, the flight crew should stop the airplane and notify Air Traffic that they are stopped across the hold line because of red lights.
  4. If remaining clear of the runway is impractical for safety reasons, then crews should proceed according to their best judgment of safety (understanding that the illuminated REL indicates the runway is unsafe to cross or enter) and contact ATC at the earliest opportunity.

Comprehensive training is provided in the briefings available for download below:

Pilot Training for Continued Operational Evaluation of Runway Status Lights at SAN (ppt)

Training cards:

SAN RWSL – 8.5” x 11” Training Card (pdf)

Poster graphics:

SAN RWSL – Poster