It’s Up In The Air…

Aviation warning lights….What are they actually used for? I can already sense you ready to ask….

Well, they are a key element for anybody involved with the aviation industry as they are used as a guide – or could I even say a marker – to warn pilots of any oncoming obstructions to their flight path. This clearly shows why the maintenance of aviation warning lights is monitored by very heavy legislation. This is done to make sure that regular reviews of the lights are made and to make absolutely sure that they are ALWAYS in operation!

After doing a little bit more research I found information from both the Federal Aviation (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) which clearly stated that any structure that is 200’ higher than ground level must be marked with aviation warning lights. So, think of high structures and key examples like towers, industrial chimneys and wind turbines all fall within this bracket and all must adhere to these regulations.

So, let’s look at some background information. Originally, before recent developments and digital progression, most AWL’s were of a high intensity xenon discharge flasher type, with the wider contingent being a piercing white light. A lot of the elder equipment needed a great deal of maintenance which added considerably to the overall cost of owning such equipment. Regulations that have been implemented in many countries has resulted in the red beacon being used independently throughout the hours of dusk while the white light is saved for the daytime. This has also resulted in high powered LED’s being very much the desired product, holding a number of key advances of the older – or could I say outdated – xenon technology.

A key, key aspect that everyone should take note of is this – LED aviation warning lights require a considerably lower amount of power for the same intensity of light when compared to other similar models. They offer a longer life span – in many cases ten years can be expected – making them unbelievably cost effective!

And next – actually putting them in place! An element that you can never dismiss or get away from – and is a vital element – is the height and location of the structure in question. Structure diameter, weather, terrain, proximity to airports, and other considerations will ultimately determine the required obstruction lighting setup. The height of the structure is another key factor that must be considered when choosing how to place aviation warning lights.

Requirements are continuously changing and also differ when the location, type of structure and the environment they are in come into the equation. This again completely crystallises that anybody thinking to have AWL’s fitted need sound advice from somebody professional.

Technology – in the digital age – is changing at a rapid rate so you need to make doubly sure that you picking the most up to date and able company in the marketplace. This will ensure that you are always in the light….