Long Beach Testing FAA's Newest Runway Inclusion Warning System

A bank of four lights alongside the runway blink a warning to airborne pilots on approach whenever another airplane enters danger "zones" on the landing strip.

FAROS fares well So how has FAROS been doing so far?

"We turned it on in August and it's been performing well," Figueroa said. "Will it save the day? It's too early to tell." The FAA needs a full year of statistics before it can evaluate performance, Figueroa said. It also needs at least a one-year evaluation before it can become an officially commissioned FAA program.

Not only will FAROS be judged by engineering standards and how it impacts runway incursion rates in a real environment, but also on whether it makes economic sense.

"Is there a business case for it? And what are the costs and benefits," Figueroa said.

Long Beach is the only airport with a FAROS system but other airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth International, have been pestering the FAA to try it out as well.

Edwards believes that FAROS is the answer to runway incursions. Maybe it won't reduce incidents to zero, but combined with other educational programs and technology that still could be developed, eliminating the potentially horrific close calls could be achieved, she said.

And that could help keep Long Beach from making the list of fatal incursions that have hit other airports.

"I think we've been fortunate we haven't had one," Edwards said.

"I would also say it's been more than luck. I think maybe we haven't had one because we've been effective in our pilot awareness and education programs."

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