Thu, May 04, 2006
LEDs May Reduce Incursions, Energy Bills
In an effort to improve
runway safety and reduce the risk of runway incursions, the Federal
Aviation Administration has installed a new Light Emitting Diode
(LED) taxiway light system at Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) in
"Reducing the risk of runway incursions is one of the
FAA’s top priorities," said FAA Administrator Marion C.
Blakey. "This new technology will help improve passenger safety by
preventing collisions between aircraft while they are on the
The new system, which is still in the prototype stage, is a
redesigned FAA lighting system that uses LED technology to notify
pilots that they are approaching a runway hold line. The taxiway
edge lights emit a clear blue light that provides pilots with a
visual cue marking the taxiway edge, while the runway guard lights
notify pilots that they are approaching a runway hold line.
Both are critical visual aids to improve a pilot’s ability
to identify active runways.
The FAA says the system has potential benefits for both the
airports and passenger safety. It could be installed at large,
medium and small airports. In addition to helping pilots be more
aware of their surroundings, it also provides improved worker
safety during system maintenance by significantly reducing circuit
voltages. It also reduces operations and maintenance costs, and
uses less electricity.
And while the installation cost of the LEDs is more expensive
than standard lighting systems, the FAA also says more
energy-efficient LEDs could result in significant long-term savings
for airports. FAA engineers estimate that the LED system could
reduce energy use by as much as 50 to 80 percent each year.
Prescott taxpayers are expected to save between 20 to 80 percent
of light system maintenance costs, which currently total
approximately $5,700 per year. The FAA paid the $1 million cost of
designing, producing and installing the system at PRC.
The installation of future LED systems at other airports will be
eligible for financial assistance through the FAA’s Airport
Improvement Program once they are approved as meeting FAA
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