Lighting Control Systems

Lighting Control Systems


Lighting control systems provide air traffic controllers with means to manage the aerodrome lights.

Typical features found in Lighting control systems include:

  • Standard configurations. This feature allows the controller to activate all relevant lights for a pre-defined situation with a single button. Such situations are e.g. "daytime", "nighttime good visibility", "reduced visibility XXX metres", etc.
  • Runway switching. Somewhat related to the standard configurations, this feature allows the controller to quickly apply the relevant settings to a different runway (most often the opposite direction)
  • Light intensity adjustment for a particular type of light (e.g. approach, runway, TDZ, VASIS, etc.), e.g. when a pilot requests the controller to dim it. This feature also allows manual switching of all relevant lights as an alternative to a standard configuraiton. It can be used for troubleshooting or in case standard configurations cannot be activated for some reason.
  • Stop bar management
  • Release of control. This feature enables other personnel to operate the lighting system and prevents the controller from using it. This is done for maintenance purposes.
  • Emergency signals. The aerodrome lighting system can be used in emergency conditions or when light signals are not observed. Flashing runway or taxiway lights is an instruction to vacate the runway and observe the tower for light signal. This can be a separate feature or performed as a manual light adjustment.
  • Provision of troubleshooting information, such as failure of a particular set of lights.

The control panel of a lighting control system can take various forms, e.g.: 

  • toggle or rotary switches with labels. These are simple and cost-effective to implement and are often used at smaller aerodromes.
  • "facsimile" panels which combine a graphical representation of the aerodrome layout with buttons at appropriate points.
  • touchscreen panels which are effectively computer monitors. This option can provide the most customizable and convenient user interface.

Example of a control panel with switches:

Example of a facsimile control panel:

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