Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What makes an airport fit for night landing: lighting, landing guidance

New Delhi: India has 101 airports; until last year, about 35 did not have night landing facilities. These were primarily smaller airports that saw lower passenger traffic. According to a Civil Aviation Ministry source, it is usually the Airports Authority of India, which manages most of the airports in India, that takes up a particular one for consideration for providing night landing facilities, once airlines have shown an interest in post-sunset operations.

The main requirement for night landing is that the runway approach lighting system include a series of light bars with strobe lights installed at the end of the runway. Such a system serves a runway that is equipped with an instrument landing system, or ILS. With modernisation of aircraft and airport equipment, ILS is replacing the traditional approach, under which pilots landing aircraft depended on what was visible to them.

ILS uses a series of navigational aids to help pilots land the aircraft if they cannot establish visual contact with the runway. As per the International Telecommunication Union, ILS is a system which provides the aircraft “with horizontal and vertical guidance just before and during landing and, at certain fixed points, indicates the distance to the reference point of landing”.

It is also important for airport operators to have lighting along the runway edge, so that pilots landing at night are able to make visual contact and align the aircraft with the centre of the runway.
14/04/18 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express
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