Airport Apron Lighting Is Extraordinarily Important

- Nov 04, 2019-

Aircraft maintenance performed on the apron often includes recognizing specific colors of wires, hoses, and connectors.  Since many apron workers have intimate access to the planes, lighting is important for face recognition and security observation.


Airport apron lighting is extraordinarily important because of its close proximity to the active airfield.  Adequately lighting this area is only part of the goal.  Equally important is the light control from the apron to minimize glare and spillover into areas where it is not appreciated and can be dangerous.  Pilot directed glare can diminish the visibility of ground lighting, directional signs, and painted markings on the airfield.  Tower directed glare, backscatter, and reflections can distract tower personnel and make it harder to see past the apron into the generally dark active airfield area.  


Aircraft or service vehicles receiving direct illumination are highly reflective, often with a mirror-like finish. Specular surfaces like this can cause quite a glare and the solution is to illuminate with multiple light fixtures and from a large number of LED elements within those fixtures.  Distributing the light to come from many sources means that at any one instant the glare is only from a small percentage of the overall illumination sum.  The multiple source approach also minimizes shadows and leads to better overall uniformity.  


Our LED products are constructed with many high quality LEDs and individual lenses to provide the best performance for light output, containment, and thermal management.  


Additionally, LED products use multiple LED drivers so that a single failure can only reduce a given fixture output 25 to 50%.  It is stressed in RP-37-15 that field verification of coverage and uniformity will be necessary to optimize the lighting for all interested parties.  Our LED apron lights have optional glare shields and baffle options to assist in reducing troublesome glare.  The adjustable baffle option can be used as a tool to find the optimal shield length and then order fixed parts, or just left in place.  


When the apron pavement is covered in snow, it may be necessary to dim or stagger lighting for the benefit of the tower.  Being able to dim and control the apron lighting remotely is becoming more popular for these reasons.  When designing the lighting systems, both maintenance and control of the lighting system should be considered. Our LED products can be configured with the LED drivers located up to 100 feet away from the LEDs.  This may be convenient for centralized controls between poles or simply to keep the LED drivers more accessible so that service can be performed without giving up the entire area to a boom truck.