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Three simulation studies were performed to determine opportunities and limitations of ground-based direct pilot warnings to increase runway safety. Sixty pilots participated in these studies and operated a flight simulator under active and passive warning. Passive warnings facilitated crew awareness about their current location on the airport. Active warnings provided time critical information about runway status and other traffic to facilitate safety mitigation behavior by pilots. Participants completed simulation scenarios with opportunities for safety incidents that could be avoided if pilots achieved complete situation awareness. Warning effectiveness was measured by comparing numbers of encountered safety incidents between baseline and warning conditions. Simulation findings indicate that passive warnings are frequently unable to correct erroneous pilot expectations, thereby replicating similar historic incidents such as the crash of a commuter jet in Lexington, Kentucky in August 2006, where the flight-crew took off from a too short runway. Visual ground-based active warnings on the other hand seemed effective in the runway entrance environment and for departure situations. For arrival situations, allocation of pilot attention seemed to play a crucial role in moderating warning effectiveness. We report opportunities and limitations of the described warning methodology and suggest next steps for runway safety research and system development.