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RID? RIPD? RIPS? PRIDS?

A number of acronyms have been pressed into service to describe a system that aids Air Traffic Controllers in keeping track of runway status and personnel and vehicles authorized into controlled areas of airports.

RID - Runway Incursion Device - a good acronym is more important than an understandable title in this most common term to describe this type of system.

RIPD - Runway Incursion Prevention Device - this acronym attempts to clarify the purpose of these systems, and seems to be used in many discussions of updated systems.

RIPS - Runway Incursion Prevention System - this acronym has appeared in NASA publications.

PRIDS - Prevention of Runway Incursion Device System - this torturous acronym comes from a British system that significantly advances the technology even though it sounds like the purpose is to prevent RID systems.

Let's settle on the common terminology of RID for ease of discussion.  So acronyms aside, what is a RID?  Simply put, it's a aid to Air Traffic Controllers to remind them that personnel or a vehicle are in a controlled zone so aircraft should not be directed into that zone.  Current systems let the Air Traffic Controller set an indicator that he has authorized an entry into a controlled zone.  The closed status is indicated by a light and audible announcements to "check runway" when any of the radios controlling that zone are keyed.

Two types of RID systems are installed at about 65 airports across the country; this systems are based around obsolete components and many of them do not currently function.


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