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Thu, May 04, 2006

New Taxiway Lights Get Trial Run At KPRC

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 Prescott, AZ.

"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 ground."

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 standards.



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