Register Here | Login | My Account | Shopping Cart | Customer Service | Search| Items in Cart (0) | Quotes (0)
Call 1-800-369-6671
(Military/Intl Sales - 214-616-6180)

Vast Inventory for Fast Shipping. Custom Builds Available, Rentals and Sales.
Most items in stock for fast shipping!! UPS Ship Map Credit cards & Paypal Accepted
Home - Articles You're NOT logged in, Please log in   

Company Information

Product #:

ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
Explosion Proof Lights
Explosion Proof Motors - Motors for Hazardous Locations
Industrial and Vaporproof Emergency Failsafe Lighting
Industrial Cord Reels and Tool Taps
Industrial Work Area Heaters
Machine Vision Lights
QC Series Industrial Portable Lighting - Quick Change Mount
Rig Lights
Stadium lights
String Lights and Temporary Light Stringers
Tank Cleaning Lights
Three Phase Motor Soft Starters
Vapor Proof LED Lights
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
Vehicle Mounting Plates
Workboat Light Fixtures & Lighting Equipment
Yacht Engine Room Lights
Color Changing LED RGB Lighting
Explosion Proof Cord Reels
GOLIGHT Spotlights
Larson FUTURE - Lease Lighting
Remote Area Lighting and Scene Lights
Utility Bucket Mount, Receiver Hitch & Trailer Mount Lighting
Aevum Control Lighting and Equipment - IIoT
Butane and Solvent Extraction Room Lighting and Equipment
DC to DC Transformers and Power Supplies
Explosion Proof Fans & Blowers
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Approved Lights
Explosion Proof String Lights
Explosion Proof Switchgear & Controls
Fleet Service Lights and Lighting Equipment
Industrial Equipment Trailers
Industrial Handlamps & Droplights
ISO 14644/FS-209E Clean Room Lighting
LED Blasting Lights
Night Time Fishing Lights
Portable AC Power Supply Units
Portable Power Distribution Panels
Power Distribution Panels with KVA Transformers
Self-Contained Lighting
Service Pit Lighting
Solar Generators & Solar Powered Lighting
Agricultural Farm Equipment Lighting & Beacons
Explosion Proof Cameras & Surveillance Systems
Explosion Proof Emergency Lights
Explosion Proof Heaters
Garage & Gas Station Canopy Lights
LED Grow Lights
LED Lights
NDT Ultraviolet Lights
Portable Hazardous Location Lighting
Radio Communication Towers and Equipment
Salt Water Processing Equipment
Shelter & Tent Lighting
Thermal Monitoring Cameras and Systems
48V LED Equipment Lights
ATEX Rated Explosion Proof Lights
Automotive Lighting
Class Rated Signals, Alarms, and Systems
Hazardous Location Area Lights and Portable Lighting
HID Equipment Lights
Hot Work Permit Lighting and Equipment
Hunting Lights
Industrial lasers
Industrial Transformers
Light Towers
Outdoor Lighting
Remote Security and Surveillance Systems
Temporary Construction Lights
Vehicle Mounted Spotlights
Equipment & Heavy Machinery LED Light Package Fitouts
Phase Converters - Single to Three Phase
Marine Shore Power Cords and Equipment
24 Volt Military Lights
Disaster Relief / First Responders / Search & Rescue Lighting
Plastic Handcuff Key
110/120 Volt Flood Lights
Post Mount Spotlights
Magnetic Work Lights
Crank-up Light Masts
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Military Flashlights
LED Waterproof Lanterns
Work Area Lights
12 Volt Flood Lights
Boat Spotlights
New Boat Lights
HID Boat Lights
Boat Dock Lights
Remote Control Lights
Control Lights
Tow Lights
Magnetic Control Lights
NEW Lights and New Products
Evaporative Coolers
Police Equipment
AC/DC Transformers
Power Supplies
Military Spotlights 24V
Infrared Filters, Covert Covers, and Blackout IR Lenses
Military Equipment
Ultralife Batteries
Remote Control Pan Tilt Base
Larson Electronics Spotlights
Larson Electronics Parts
Replacement Lamps
Cords - Brackets
Portable Wheeled Generators
Non-Hazardous Location Extension Cords / Plugs / Outlets
HID Work Lights
HID Dive Lights
HID Off Road Lights
Acro Lights HID Lights
Halogen Lights
Acro Light Flashlight
Xenon HID Flashlights
Powerlight Flashlight
HID Flashlights
Xenon Flashlights
LED Status Lights
Forklift Lights
Tractor Lights
HID Post Mount Lights
Roof Mount Lights
Post Mount Light parts
Flashlight Holder
Magnet Spotlight Base
Tripods-Magnetic Base
Recharging Spotlights
Fire Rescue Lights
LED Street Lights
Utility Lights
Hazard Lights
Strobe Lights - Battery Operated
Strobes & Beacons
Strobe Light Bars
Headlights - Headlamps - Hard Hat Lights
Suction Mount Lights
Magnetic Spotlights
12/24 Volt Spotlights
Gifts For Men
New 12 / 24 Volt Lights
Explosion Proof Accessories and Replacement Parts
Explosion Proof Lighting
Explosion Proof Hand Lamps (Drop Lights)
Explosion Proof Lights - Stand/Dolly
Explosion Proof Tank Lights
Explosion Proof Phones and Intercoms
Explosion Proof Extension Cords
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials
Crane Lights
Explosion Proof Light Rentals
General Light Rentals
Light Tower and Light Plant Rentals
Power Distribution Rentals
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Environmental Services Lights
Aerospace Lights
Chemical Plant Lights
Food Grade Safe Lights
Film and Entertainment Lights
Handheld Meters and Devices
Waste Water Treatment Lights
Mining Lights
Ship Yard Lights
Work Site Lighting

10/02/17 An Overview of Airfield Lighting Systems for Commercial Airports and Runways

Article - October 2, 2017 By

1.59KW Solar Power Generator with Pneumatic Light Tower Mast - (4) 100 Watt LED Lights

An Overview of Airfield Lighting Systems for Commercial Airports and Runways

Commercial airfields are major consumers of industrial lighting systems. Such locations use luminaries to guide aircrafts around the site during takeoff, landing, repair, testing and when performing basic land-based maneuvers.

Roughly a decade ago, the US DoD passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which greatly affected the production of inefficient incandescent lamps. For commercial airports, the new lighting standards forced such establishments to replace outdated lighting sources at runways, high-activity areas and obstruction zones with LEDs.

However, due to the complexity of airfield lighting systems and the unpredictable nature of flying large planes, the FAA released several updates to the guidelines, with focus on reducing the intensity of such luminaries (more on this later).

Furthermore, the industry is heavily regulated by leading agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US Department of Defense (US DoD), the US Department of Energy (US DoE), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and local government institutions heavily invested in infrastructure projects.

This article provides a general overview of airfield lighting systems, the types of lights used to support airport operations and the FAA’s struggle with LED implementation.

Runway Lighting Architecture

An integral component of efficient lighting systems is power. In airfields, underground electrical vaults, which house power distribution stations, allocate electricity to lights scattered around the site, using heavy-duty cables. In most cases, because the vaults are inaccessible, the components are monitored and controlled through a remote system located somewhere else on the site. Some airfields leave controls for lighting circuits with air traffic tower operators.

For reliable communication, airports rely on fiber optic cables, which are also buried underground. In the event such components are struck, broken or damaged, workers temporarily switch to radio-based communication until the line is fixed.

Types of Airfield Lights

According to the 2014 Edition of the Aeronautical Information Manual, published by the US Department of Transportation and the FAA, airports must be equipped with different types of lights for safety. Generally speaking, FAA guidelines suggest red lights on airfields are used for warnings (sections of the location that are blocked), while green lights indicate the start of the runway. During the approach, pilots rely on white lights that guide the aircraft during landing maneuvers.

• Runway Guidance Lights: Runway Edge Light Systems (HIRL/MIRL/LIRL), Runway End Identifier Lights (REILs), Runway Centerline Lighting System (RCLS), Touchdown Zone Lights (TDZL) and Takeoff Hold Light Array (THL) are examples of such luminaries. Most of these lights emit a white color with specific flashing patterns for identification. Runway Edge Lights and Runway Centerline Lights can incorporate yellow and red colors, as well as different beam intensities, depending on the length of the structure.

• Taxiway Lights: Clearance Bar Lights, Stop Bar Lights, Runway Guard Lights and Edge Lights clearly mark the boundaries of intersections and pathways. These units use blue, green, red or yellow colors.

• Glideslope Indicator Lights: This type of airfield light is applied during approach and landing. Visual Approach Slope Indicators (VASI) include luminaries on the side of pathways, typically consisting of 2-16 lights, evenly allocated over 2-3 bars. Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) are horizontal, red/white fixtures installed on the left side of the pathway. These lights are used to establish the correct flying height during the approach.

• Airport Beacon Lights: Rotating strobe lights can be found throughout the airfield. They are used to mark the height of tall structures in order to prevent collisions for low-flying planes. Commercial airports use green or white for such requirements. Military airports also apply green or white strobes, but also include two additional white lights with every green light for distinction from public airports. Airfields for helicopters incorporate a combination of green, white and yellow.

Previously, incandescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps were used for illumination on commercial airfields. In the past decade, aviation authorities and military groups have promoted the application of newer lighting technologies, such as LEDs, to improve airfield lighting systems.

Halogen vs LEDs for Airfield Lighting Systems (Case Study)

According to a white paper published by ADB Airfield Solutions, LEDs present numerous advantages for airports. The report compared the performance of halogen lights and LEDs on airfields. From a cost perspective, energy consumption is reduced by up to 70 percent when switching to LEDs. In a trial that compared the two lighting technologies’ strengths, LEDs required less than one hour of troubleshooting with two technicians, while halogen lights needed up to five hours with a minimum of four technicians. When it comes to lifecycles, halogen units provided up to 1,500 hours of illumination. LEDs offered up to 56,000+ hours, resulting in decreased maintenance and upkeep costs.

FAA and Challenges with LED Implementation

The FAA and the US DoD (among others) have been very vocal about transitioning from outdated lighting technologies to modern options, such as LEDs. To streamline this phase, the FAA has held several discussions with various aviation groups and industry stakeholders. Moreover, the institution releases periodic memos about updates to aviation lighting standards and practices.

As mentioned earlier, one of the major hurdles that the FAA faced during the implementation stages of LEDs is excessive brightness levels. Reports surfaced from the NBAA and the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System, indicating that LED lights used at commercial runways were noticeably more intense than their predecessors. According to a 2011 report from a licensed, Albuquerque-based pilot, intense LEDs can reduce depth perception and night vision quality, when approaching the runway. In another report, this time covering LEDs at Richmond International Airport in Virginia, a veteran pilot mentioned that the issue with the new lights is that they cannot be dimmed or the lowest brightn ess setting is still visually overpowering.

The industry’s concerns surrounding LED implementation is certainly unique, as most businesses find traditional lighting sources to be too dim or dark. To effectively address the aviation sector’s concerns, the FAA announced an update from a three-step regulatory system to a five-step framework, as detailed in Advisory Circular 150/5340-30H and Engineering Brief 67D. The changes enforced re-established dimming curve standards for LEDs (white and colored) on runways and taxiways. After the release of the updates, the agency revealed it has not received new complaints about excessively bright LEDs.

Solar LEDs and the Future of Airfield Lights

For the US military, upgrades to existing airfields go beyond LEDs. According to a 2011 memo released by the US DoD (titled Engineering Technical Letter [ETL] 11-27: Solar Lighting for Airfields), solar-powered luminaries should be used in remote sections of airfields. This solution could reduce time spent on installing underground cables and vaults, as well as decrease costs related to equipment and labor. These lighting systems must meet illumination standards set by the FAA.

Point 6.5 in the memo provides insights on preferred configurations for solar-powered LED lights by the agency. Specifically, the US DoD requires solar-powered LED airfield fixtures to consist of integrated panels (not a separate, external panel). The only exception to the application of this standard is obstruction lights. Lastly, solar-powered LED fixtures with internally located, integrated power cells (batteries that cannot be removed and requires the full replacement of the unit during malfunction or failure), are not recommended for airfield lighting systems.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
LED Work Lights
Articles - Work Area
Articles - Towers & High Mast
Strobe Lights with Sensors and Alarms
Solar Powered LED Beacon - 3 Watt LED Beacon - Continuous Use
Class 1 LED Beacon with 30 Strobing Light Patterns - Permanent Surface Mount - 1440 Lumens - 120/277
Explosion Proof Two Color LED Light - C1D1 & C2D1 Oxygen Level Warning Light - Steady or Strobe
Explosion Proof LED Light - Magnetic Mount - Aluminum Base -140° Spread- C1D1 150 Watt LED Light
Explosion Proof LED Tank Light - Portable Wheelbarrow Cart - 140°- Class 1 Division 1 - 17,500 Lumen
3840W Crane Mount LED Light Plant - (8) 480W LED Fixtures - Single Phase - Adjustable Assemblies
16000W Chandelier Cube MH Light Plant - (16) 1000W MH Fixtures - Single PH - Adjustable Assemblies
85' Self-contained Megatower® on Skid Mount - (16) 500W LED Fixtures - 11KW Genset, 110 Gallon Tank
2880W Skid Mount LED Light Plant - 6 LED Fixtures - Crane Stadium Flood Lights - 480V AC 3-Phase
77' Hydraulic Megatower™ - 33' Gooseneck Trailer - Galvanized Steel Mast - No Lights
Home | Contact Us | Return Policy | Privacy Policy | Security Policy | Copyright © 2006-2018. All Rights Reserved.