Mon, Sep 20, 2004
South African Engineer Comes Up With Way To Light Rural
We pilots have it pretty good in the US. Most every town has an
airport and most every airport has runway lights. But such is not
the case in other countries, like South Africa, home to more than
2,000 unlit fields.
Verily, Gavin Brown said, let there be light.
Brown, a civil engineer from Durban, has come up with a system
he says provides faultless illumination for remote runways. It's
been approved by the government and is already gaining wide
acceptance on farms and in cases of emergency.
It's a pretty simple set-up, to hear Brown and his supporters
describe it. there are six green threshold lights and six red
end-of-runway lights. They hook up to a car or aircraft's cigarette
lighter or can be hooked directly up to a car battery.
And it's cheap. While traditional runway lighting can cost
upwards of $40,000, Brown's system, which has been patented
worldwide, costs less than $9,000. Oh, yeah -- and it's portable,
although Brown suggests it be permanently installed where
Brown tells the Weekend Argus newspaper in South Africa he came
up with the idea during a Red Cross air ambulance flight deep into
the hinterland. "The ambulance driver who had been requested to
illuminate the runway end with his vehicle's lights drove off,
leaving the crew in the dark," he said.
Brown now plans to put the system into production for worldwide
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