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Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?  
User currently offlineTreeny From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 319 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3019 times:

Good Morning to you all from a rather grey and rainy Buenos Aires!!

I was driving past our regional airport this morning (Aeroparque) and abviously with the weather as it was the taxi and runway lights were all on.

I was wondering who or what actually controls these lights being on or off. If it is human interaction that switches them on or off what are the `rules`governing this - i.e what tells them to switch them on or off?

Where would the controls for this be? In the ATC Office? On the ground?

Assuming that they are automatic, I would imagine they are controlled by light sensors? Is this the case?

Also can a pilot request landing lights to be switched on if they are not already?

Please note that I am talking about airports in general not only Aeroparque in Buenos Aires.

As always thanks for your help and info.

Cheers

Mark

P:S Happy St Paddies day to all you Irish out there!!

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBoeing7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3006 times:

The control tower usually has a control panel and another is typically located at the electrical vault for maintenance.

[Edited 2006-03-17 16:11:07]

User currently offlineBahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1758 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3006 times:

Mark,
in towered airports they have light switches in tower cab for these. Some uncontrolled airports have full time lights that they stay in the same intensity all night long. In other uncontrolled airports, you turn the lights on and adjust the intensity by clicking on some frequency, which most of the time is the unicom freq.



Earthbound misfit I
User currently offlineIndy From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 4522 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3006 times:

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 1):
The control tower ususally has a control panel and another is typically located at the electrical vault for maintenance.

I think that is correct. I took a tour of a tower at a military base down in Florida and that was one of the features demonstrated.



Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
User currently offlineRL757PVD From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4630 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2987 times:

The Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) normally has control of these lights, and they can be adjusted at any request.

Smaller airports normally have Pilot Controlled Lighting (PCL) where the pilot keys the microphone with several clicks to select the desired intensity.

In some cases, Airport Operations or maintenance may also have control of these lights during times when the ATC is not open.



Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
User currently offlineHiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2154 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2968 times:

And Happy St Paddy's day back to you. In the spirit of the day the light are really controlled by the Keebler Elves when they are not busy making cookies...grin!

The above posters are correct in regards to the tower cab being able to both control on/off but to also be able to turn them up or down as needed. I have repeatedly heard requests to turn 'em down with the 0500 arrivals dragged in from EZE to MIA as they were too bright to crews operating all night. Then again, in haze and fog I have heard requests to turn 'em up. I can tell you that when the lights are on full bright you think you can read a book out there...!!


User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2903 times:

Ours are controlled via computer panels produced and installed by Siemens. We have control panels in the control tower, in our airfield electrical vault, and in our airfield maintenance main office.

Not only do the computers control the lights from these panels, but they will also alarm when lights go out, or when power to the vault/lights switches to another source (ie commmercial power/generator power), also when power is completely cut off.

They also keep records of light usage, outtages, etc.

Tom at MSY



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineIcarus75 From France, joined Oct 2003, 790 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2837 times:

I was thinking that for big airports, the lights are on all the time!!!
Last week-end, I passed near ORY runways at 0300am, and the lights were on!



Flying is amazing!
User currently offlineEastCoast From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2731 times:

The tower has fully control over the lighting of the runway. While visiting JFK tower on a midnight shift we through on the lights on 31L one night and seen Jamaica Bay just light up, as well as the approach lights over the Belt Parkway............. it's pretty neat!

User currently offlineAirIndiaOne From India, joined Mar 2005, 146 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2663 times:

Quoting Treeny (Thread starter):
Also can a pilot request landing lights to be switched on if they are not already?

The pilot can request the Tower controller for reducing / increasing intensity of approach lights as per his convenience



"You don't have to be crazy to be in aviation, but it helps", JRD Tata
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 23
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2630 times:

The runway and taxiway lights are required also to be on when the assoicated approach lights are on, which at times may be when to the casual observer a time that the weather is fairly good but the weather isn't good enough for the approach lights to be off. Also, the intensity of the runway/taxiway and approach lights driven by weather requirements and also if the airport operates with a SMGCS plan.


Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineFrancoBlanco From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2609 times:

Only Jacobs and Cpt. Kramer ("no, that´s exactly what they expect us to do") have control over the lighting.

Sorry, couldn´t resist.

Even at INN I have seen the lights on in the middle of the night.

Sebastian


User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2574 times:

Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 4):
Smaller airports normally have Pilot Controlled Lighting (PCL) where the pilot keys the microphone with several clicks to select the desired intensity

Yep..we have that here in our little berg. You drive by at night and you can tell when theres a plane about 15 minutes out. The lights are at full tensity.

When you drive buy and can't see the airport, except for the beacon, theres nothing approaching the pattern.
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6267 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2556 times:

Quoting Bahadir (Reply 2):
in towered airports they have light switches in tower cab for these. Some uncontrolled airports have full time lights that they stay in the same intensity all night long. In other uncontrolled airports, you turn the lights on and adjust the intensity by clicking on some frequency, which most of the time is the unicom freq.

I know of at least one towered field which has pilot-controlled lighting at night. TIW (Tacoma narrows airport, WA) lighting goes to pilot-controlled once the controllers go home at 2000 local...and you click to activate on the tower frequency  Cool



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
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