As our skies grow ever more crowded with aircraft and obstacles, marking these obstacles becomes increasingly more vital. International organizations, such as ICAO and FAA, and individual countries regulate and maintain standards for the marking of obstacle/obstruction lighting. Aircraft operators rely on the compliance to standards to enable them to conduct aircraft operations safely.
Standards change over time as improvements are identified and adopted. Indeed, the ICAO Annex 14, Volume 1 was updated in June 2013 (Sixth Edition) and made compulsory in November 2013. Low Intensity Obstruction Lights Type A (10cd) and B (32cd) were affected by this revision to the standard. For example, minimum intensity for the Type A and B in the 2009 edition was only required between elevation angles 6° to 10°. The 2013 edition requires the minimum intensity be between elevation angles 2° to 10°. This change ensures that the minimum intensity is maintained over a wider elevation angle; making the light output more visible to aircraft operators. To meet this requirement, manufacturers in almost all cases needed to modify existing products to ensure compliance.
How can owners and operators of obstacles be sure that the obstruction lighting they purchase actually meets the current standard? The best way to ensure a product meets the latest standard is to insist on a 3rd party Certificate of Compliance from an accredited testing laboratory or at the very least require the manufacturer to provide photometric test reports showing that the standard’s photometric output has been met. Manufacturers who stand behind their products will be willing to provide the appropriate documentation.
Unmarked or incorrectly marked obstacles which are located in areas that require marking can and should be subject to fines or penalties. Regulatory bodies globally are increasing enforcement of regulations with the levy of fines and/or penalties for non-compliance ranging into millions of dollars – but of course far worse is the risk of an aircraft accident.
“It is a great benefit to our community to have this [Avlite’s helipad lighting system] installed and commissioned at CareFlight’s Toowoomba base. Avlite’s particular type of lighting lends itself to a lot of applications given that it’s easy to install, doesn’t require electricity as its solar powered and can be remotely controlled. It’s a fabulous technology, obviously a world leading technology and from my point of view, it’s great to see an Australian Manufacturing success story.“
-Cr Mike Williams
“For an aerodrome operator to provide equivalent night-use runway standards for the RFDS and other fixed-base users at around one-third of the cost of a traditional mains-powered runway and taxiway lighting system, there has to be greater recognised merit for this (solar-powered) alternative especially in a location like ours where it is sunny most days of the year.”
“Our industry appreciates the on-going support of this Australian owned and operated company whose solar powered airfield and helipad lighting systems assist in the improvement of safety for both fixed and rotary wing aeromedical flight crews and passengers around the country.”
“As the busiest Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) based in the State [of Queensland], the benefits [of Avlite’s helipad lighting] are many. Not only does it [the system] enhance the safety of our operations, it also helps us to continue to improve our level of service delivery to the community and to our customers.“
-Ashley van de Velde
“These lights [AV-70s] have been a great asset to many outback communities that previously we were not able to access 24/7.”
“Just to let you know the new airport floodlight has now been installed for several weeks and the medical staff and Power and Water staff [who look after the airport] agree it has made things much easier and safer for night-time medivacs. Your assistance with enabling us to have this basic but important infrastructure is much appreciated.”
“Since starting our distributorship with Avlite, we have gone from strength to strength with the great range of solar products and of course the fantastic support of the Avlite staff. It’s been a good year for us. May it continue.”
“Re: Avlite AV70 taxiway lights, are working really well. Thank you for your assistance in getting our ramp up and running.”
-Capt. US Air Force
“[In reference to more than 2,000 AV70 taxiway lights installed] Those Taxiway lights work great, we are not having any problems with those AV70’s. Thanks a lot.”
“The lights are installed and are operating beautifully.”
“[In reference to Avlite radio controlled obstruction lighting] They are really neat to watch come on, they come on instantly and are a great addition to our pilot training school. The lights are currently set on medium intensity as high intensity is very bright.”
“We did install all of the lights. We even used a few red lights as obstruction markers on top of 68 meter power line towers. I finally found a high quality camera and took some photos. I will send them to you as soon as I can download them. We submitted some additional light orders to our contracting office, so you can expect to receive a bit solicitation from them soon. The lights are working great and we appreciate the support.”
“[In reference to a visit to the Avlite production facilities] On arrival at Avlite I was greeted by sales manager Sharon Bedson, and was treated like a VIP. I was given a tour of the production line and had a close look, and an in-depth explanation of all the components of the Avlite system. The staff were fantastic and very helpful. It was truly fascinating and I now have a good story to tell Wanarn community members on my return. I was also shown the vast range of solar system lights and other products that they make.
I have recommended Avlite solar lighting systems to many local communities and Avlite will be my first stop shop if the community needs anything regarding solar power in the future. Well done, and thank you Avlite.”