Meeting FAA Standards for Lighting Equipment|
Article - October 29, 2018 By LarsonElectronics.com
Meeting FAA Standards for Lighting Equipment
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a US-based organization that governs key aspects of aviation-related operations. The national authority implements guidelines, standards, processes and programs to streamline compliance with FAA regulations.
Lighting manufacturers interested in serving the aviation sector with lighting systems (as an FAA-approved supplier) are required to abide by stringent FAA rulings. Such businesses must go through various certification programs to ensure their products adhere to the performance standards of the FAA.
Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program (ALECP)
In acquiring FAA approval for lighting equipment, manufacturers are required to work with FAA-approved, third-party testers and certifiers. The Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program (ALECP) provides information about the certification and approval process. Notably, in Advisory Circular [AC] 150/5345-53D, the organization lists the requirements and steps for manufacturers to take in gaining FAA qualification for equipment, via a third-party certifier.
When approaching and partnering with a third-party certifier, the tester must be listed under the FAA’s accepted certification bodies. An example of an FAA approved, third-party certifier is Intertek. The business provides programs for manufacturers to test their equipment, in order to comply with specific FAA regulations.
Certification of Conformance and Marking
The third-party certification body is tasked with evaluating and certifying lighting equipment for the aviation sector, as well as licensing suppliers for marking products that qualify for FAA approval. After successfully going through the certification process, the third-party certifier issues the manufacturer a Certificate of Conformance.
According to the FAA Advisory Circular:
“Optional labeling and/or other markings may be utilized, but is not recognized as proof of certification.”
Types of Products and Testing
The FAA requires a wide range of lights to be certified. It is important to note that the FAA also calls for other types of equipment to be certified, such as isolation transformers (50Hz or 60Hz [AC 150/5345-47]) and wind cones (Frangible or Rigid [AC 150/5345-27]).
Below are examples of beacons and crane lights that must be FAA certified:
• L-801 Beacons, Medium Intensity (AC 150/5345-12)
• L-857 Lights, Obstruction, High Intensity, White, 60 FPM (AC 150/5345-43)
The testing criteria and procedures are outlined in Appendix 5 of the AC 150/5345-53D. This process is divided into normal testing and accelerated testing. Normal testing entails going through the standard certification process with a third-party certifier. Accelerated testing is a faster form of testing that can be applied under special circumstances. When selecting accelerated testing, normal testing is still needed – at a later date.
Criteria for testing may include the following (depending on type of equipment): photometry, accelerated life, mechanical shock, dust, wind load, lamp life and etc.
Example of Certification Process (Intertek)
According to a 2013 presentation by Intertek, below is a summary of the steps required for certifying equipment for FAA approval by the third-party certifier. The steps below may serve as a general overview of the process:
• Manufacturer submits certification request via AL-2 application form
• Qualification testing
• Documentation submittal and engineering review
• Initial manufacturing facility audit
• License Agreement
• Certificate issued and product listed in 53D Addendum
• Certification process covered under ANSI accreditation to ISO Guide 65
*Source: Intertek Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program