treeny
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:30 am

Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:05 am

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!!
 
Boeing7E7
Posts: 5512
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:35 pm

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:09 am

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]
 
bahadir
Posts: 1295
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2001 4:57 pm

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:09 am

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
 
Indy
Posts: 3979
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:37 pm

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:10 am

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
 
RL757PVD
Posts: 2551
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 1999 2:47 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:12 am

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!
 
hiflyer
Posts: 1272
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:38 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:18 am

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...!!
 
Tom in NO
Posts: 6725
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 1999 10:10 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:16 am

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
 
icarus75
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:18 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:38 am

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!
 
EastCoast
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue May 16, 2000 12:50 pm

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:40 am

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!
 
AirIndiaOne
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:10 pm

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:13 am

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
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3944
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:34 am

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.
 
FrancoBlanco
Posts: 382
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:38 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:46 am

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
'Pointless!' - NY Times
 
isitsafenow
Posts: 3413
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 9:22 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:03 am

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.
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Runway And Taxi Lights - Who Switches Them On?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:09 am

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
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