Apron Floodlighting Planning and Optimisation
The purpose of apron floodlighting is to facilitate safe operations on an apron, on a de-icing/anti-icing facility, and on a designated isolated aircraft parking position intended to be used at night.
A compliant and well-planned apron floodlighting enables safe operations and – thanks to new LED technology – also saves cost for the aerodrome operator and minimises its environmental footprint.
Nevertheless, an optimal floodlighting planning is a complex exercise that requires knowledge of regulations and airport operations, as well as certified personnel with specific software.
For this reason, many airport operators turn to airsight to plan, modernise or optimise their apron floodlighting.
Requirements related to the lighting of movement areas are contained in both aviation-specific (e.g. ICAO/EASA) as well as non-aviation-specific regulations (e.g. work and safety regulations, security, etc.).
International aviation regulations on apron floodlighting are contained notably in ICAO Annex 14 and EASA CS DSN-ADR, and complemented by additional guidelines, such as the ICAO Aerodrome Design Manual (Doc 9157) Part 4 - Visual Aids, which non-exhaustively list the following elements:
- Glare: Minimise glare to pilots of aircraft in flight and on the ground, ATC controllers, and ground personnel on the apron.
- Colours: Ensure an adequate spectral distribution of the apron floodlights, so that the colours used for markings connected to routine aircraft servicing, and for surface and obstacle markings, can be correctly identified.
- Illuminance and uniformity:
- A horizontal average aircraft stand illuminance of at least 20 lux with a uniformity ratio (average illuminance to minimum) of not more than 4 to 1
- A vertical average aircraft stand illuminance of at least 20 lux at a height of 2 m above the apron in relevant directions, and
- A horizontal average illuminance of other apron areas of at least 50% of the average illuminance (i.e. 10 lux) on the aircraft stands with a uniformity ratio of not more than 4 to 1.
- Shadows: The arrangement and aiming of floodlights should be such that an aircraft stand receives light from two or more directions to minimise shadows.
On top of these requirements, non-aviation-specific regulations – often national – have also to be considered, such as the European Standard for lighting of outdoor workplaces (EN 12464-2).
The planning of light masts heights, positions and technical characteristics therefore requires a dedicated floodlighting study – that can only be performed and validated using special 3D lighting simulation software in combination with aviation expertise.
Benefits of an apron floodlighting study and implementation
There are many reasons for looking at optimising and updating apron floodlighting: It may be to ensure compliance with regulations, to reduce airport operating costs and environmental footprint, or to provide a safer airside area both for aircraft as well as for personnel and passengers.
A dedicated study, prior implementing a new floodlighting, will notably help you to assess the elements detailed in the next sections.
- Initial planning of new apron floodlighting infrastructure to demonstrate compliance within applicable regulations.
- Re-planning of existing apron floodlighting infrastructure in order to reach compliance.
- In comparison to sodium luminaires, LEDs are more expensive to acquire. However, LEDs cost are lower both in terms of energy as well as of maintenance and repair. In the long-term, LEDs is in most cases an optimal investment.
Safety & Security
- Aircraft, ground personnel and passenger safety: Pilots and ground-handling personnel very often complain about existing lighting conditions – notably on remote aircraft stands. The optimisation of the positioning of apron floodlighting based on operational requirements (passenger, ground handling, etc.) and the utilisation of modern technology (e.g. LED providing better colour rendering), may be very beneficial for the safety of air operations, as ground markings are more visible for pilots and ground staff.
- Security: A floodlighting study might identify areas around an apron, which are not sufficiently illuminated. This in turn may impact the provision of adequate airside security during the night and could be optimised by a corresponding readjustment or exchange of floodlights.
Not only the energy consumption of the proposed apron floodlighting should be investigated, but also its impact in terms of light pollution. Poorly oriented lights are not only a waste of energy, a disruption to pilots and airport users – but also a source of irritation and conflict with the neighbouring parties.
Why should you commission airsight with a floodlighting study at your airport? There are several reasons we can optimally support you with your request:
- airsight has trained and certified personnel for the planning and design of apron floodlighting systems.
- airsight is one of the world’s leading airside planning and safety consultancies , and considers holistically both infrastructural as well as operational aspects (ground handling processes, airside safety, etc.).
- airsight has the 3D complex simulation software required to model shadows and to calculate the required lighting values for different configurations, in order to ensure compliance with applicable requirements.
Apron Floodlighting Study Deliverables:
Deliverables of an apron floodlighting study may be the following:
- Layout drawings containing the recommended apron floodlight mast locations, light point heights and lighting directions,
- Recommended luminaire performance requirements and light distribution characteristics for equipment to purchase, and
- Compliance demonstration of lighting designs with applicable regulations.