Airfield Lighting Solutions

Airfield Lighting Solutions

Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) are non-instrument and non-precision approach runways as defined by ICAO and FAA.

Visual flight rules (VFR) are a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to visually see where the aircraft is going.

Visual Flight Rules lighting systems consist of Low or Medium Intensity Runway and Approach Lighting systems that are used to guide pilots visually for a safe approach and landing. They are commonly found at public and private airfields or runways without an instrument approach.

There are different rules and regulations for ICAO and FAA VFR runways, but the common fixtures include:

  • Medium Intensity Runway Edge Lighting: Fixtures positioned along the edges of the runway emitting white light, except in the caution zone which is the last 610m of runway or half the runway length (whichever is less). In the caution zone, the fixtures emit white light in the direction facing the runway threshold and yellow light in the opposite direction.
  • Runway Threshold/ End Lighting: Fixtures positioned at either end of a runway consisting of at least six fixtures equally spaced not more than three metres from the runway extremity. Bi-directional red/green lighting must be used if the airfield is used in both directions. Runway Edge Identification Lighting (i.e. REILs) should be installed at the threshold of a non-precision approach runway in most circumstances.
  • Approach Lighting Systems: A simple approach lighting system should be provided to serve a non-precision approach runway, except when the runway is used only in conditions of good visibility or sufficient guidance is provided by other visual aids. This system provides visual guidance for circling, offset, and straight-line approaches to non-precision runways. Consideration to Category I lighting systems is advised if additional guidance is desired. Precision Approach Path Indicators (i.e. PAPIs) are recommended on most runways, and required by some regions under certain conditions.
  • Taxiway Lighting: Fixtures positioned along the edges of each taxiway emitting blue light. They define the lateral limits of the taxiway.

Non-Precision Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)

Non-Precision Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) are instrument runways as defined by FAA and ICAO.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) are a set of regulations that dictate how aircraft are to be operated when the pilot is unable to navigate using outside visual reference. IFR flight is dependent upon flying by reference to instruments in the flight deck, and navigation is accomplished by reference to electronic signals.

Non-Precision Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) lighting systems consist of Medium Intensity Runway and Approach Lighting systems intended for visual landing operations following an instrument approach operation at a height determined by the specific instrument approach procedure.

There are different rules and regulations for ICAO and FAA Non-Precision IFR runways, but the common fixtures include:

  • Runway Edge Lighting: Medium Intensity Runway Lights or High Intensity Runway Lights are required depending on Runway Visual Range (RVR) based minimums. Fixtures position along the edges of the runway emitting white light, except in the caution zone which is the last 610m of runway or half the runway length (whichever is less). In the caution zone, the fixtures emit white light in the direction facing the runway threshold and yellow light in the opposite direction.
  • Runway Threshold/ End Lighting: Fixtures positioned at either end of a runway consisting of at least six fixtures for ICAO specification or eight fixtures for FAA specification equally spaced not more than three metres from the runway extremity. Bi-directional red/green lighting must be used if the airfield is used in both directions. Runway Edge Identification Lighting (i.e. REILs) should be installed at the threshold of a precision approach runway in most circumstances.
  • Approach Lighting Systems: An approach lighting system must be implemented to provide visual guidance for circling, offset, and straight-line approaches, as well as to achieve lower visibility minimums based on credit for lighting.  In addition, this can be in the form of a MALSR, SSALR or ALSF configuration depending on the operational and environmental needs of the individual site as well as regional airport guidelines.
  • Taxiway Lighting: Fixtures positioned along the edges of each taxiway emitting blue light. They define the lateral limits of the taxiway.

Precision Instrument Flight Rules: CAT I

Precision Instrument Flight Rules Category One (CAT I) are precision approach runways as defined by FAA and ICAO.

Precision Instrument Flight Rules (CAT I) is an operation of precision instrument approach and landing based on the Decision Height (DH) and the Runway Visual Range (RVR). CAT I relies only on altimeter indications for decision.

  • Decision Height (DH) is the lowest height or altitude in the approach descent at which the pilot must initiate a missed approach if the required visual reference (such as the runway markings or runway environment) to continue the approach is not visible to the pilot. The minimum decision height (DH) for Category I operations is 60 metres (200 feet) for ICAO and FAA.
  • Runway Visual Range (RVR) is the distance over which a pilot of an aircraft on the centreline of the runway can see the runway surface markings or lights delineating the runway or identifying its centre line. The Runway Visual Range (RVR) for Category I operations are between 550 metres (1800 feet) and 800 metres (2600 feet) for ICAO and FAA.

By definition, precision instrument approach operations must have non-visual, vertical guidance information (glide slope or WAAS) displayed to the pilot; without vertical guidance information displayed in the cockpit, the operation is considered non-precision.

There are different rules and regulations for ICAO and FAA CAT I Precision Instrument runways, but the common fixtures include:

  • Runway Edge Lighting: Medium Intensity Runway Lights or High Intensity Runway Lights are required depending on Runway Visual Range (RVR) based minimums. Fixtures position along the edges of the runway emitting white light, except in the caution zone which is the last 610m of runway or half the runway length (whichever is less). In the caution zone, the fixtures emit white light in the direction facing the runway threshold and yellow light in the opposite direction.
  • Runway Threshold/ End Lighting: Fixtures positioned at either end of a runway consisting of at least six fixtures for ICAO specification or eight fixtures for FAA specification equally spaced not more than three metres from the runway extremity. Bi-directional red/green lighting must be used if the airfield is used in both directions. Runway Edge Identification Lighting (i.e. REILs) should be installed at the threshold of a precision approach runway in most circumstances.
  • Approach Lighting Systems: An approach lighting system must be implemented to provide visual guidance for circling, offset, and straight-line approaches, as well as to achieve lower visibility minimums based on credit for lighting.  In addition, this can be in the form of a MALSR, SSALR or ALSF configuration depending on the operational and environmental needs of the individual site as well as regional airport guidelines.
  • Taxiway Lighting: Fixtures positioned along the edges of each taxiway emitting blue light. They define the lateral limits of the taxiway.

Aviation Lighting Case Studies

Our Team has a proven track record of completing airport development projects on time and on budget. Below are same of our projects where we made a difference. Contact Us to know more.