Later this month, the FAA plans to begin testing a new lighting system at Boston Logan Airport that will warn arriving pilots when their runway is occupied by another aircraft. Called the enhanced final approach runway occupancy signal (eFaros), the new system flashes the existing precision approach path indicator lights to indicate the runway is not safe for landing long before the aircraft is committed to touchdown.
Runway edge lights
The FAA has strongly advised the operators of Witham Field Airport in Stuart, Fla., that their request to shorten 5,826-foot Runway 12/30 is not an option. The county commission wants to shorten the runway by decommissioning 230 feet on the Runway 12 end and using a declared distance for takeoffs that would reduce the length of Runway 30 by 460 feet.
Two accidents late last year involving Bombardier Global 5000s landing short of the runway have provoked scrutiny of safety issues associated with the landing phase, specifically the information available to pilots about clearance above the runway when following lighted approach slope guidance systems.
Pilots flying to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and San Diego Lindbergh Field might notice unusual runway status lights that warn of possible conflicting traffic. The systems have been in place since 2005 at DFW and 2006 at Lindbergh, but the FAA recently awarded contracts to upgrade the status light test systems and to install them at more airports with complex configurations.
The FAA is investigating having VASI and PAPI lights begin flashing when the landing runway is occupied. Doing so could prevent “landovers,” where an aircraft continues its approach and touches down while another aircraft or vehicle is still on the runway.