Aircraft Warning Signals: Essential for Safety

December 19, 2017


AWL or aircraft warning lights are very important devices on which buildings use to make themselves visible to aircrafts, may it be night time or day time. These devices must have precise features, in terms of its light intensity, light colour, and beam pattern. All of these features must be defined by the International Regulations and National Standards.


Aircraft Warning Lights: What are these?

Aircraft warning lights or signals are lighting devices that are being installed on several temporary or permanent structures or buildings which may pose a possible hazard to any aircrafts passing over it.

These lighting systems are often called Obstruction Lights, in which, they are designed with some different colours, shapes, and light intensity to create a more acceptable safety level. Furthermore, possibly the main reason for these signals is to prevent the risk or occurrence of any collision for flying aircrafts near the buildings or structures.

The recommendations on the obstruction of the lighting systems, functional features, and technical standards, may actually vary according to the topographical features, geographic locations, overall layout, and weather patterns of the structures which needs to be lit.

Generally, there’s actually no single standard that defines the minimum necessary requirements that governs the design and installation of the obstruction lighting. However, on the other hand, there are still some governing agencies that strictly regulate the installation and usage of it, most especially in the UK.

Aircraft Warning Lights: Types?

The International Civil Aviation Organization made a regulation regarding the use of aircraft warning signals. And, the first regulation that they made is related to the types of lamps. According to them, the standard light signals can be distinguished by a certain set of parameters: flash rates, beam pattern, light colour, and light intensity.

ICAO divides the warning signals into three main groups, and they are as follows:

– High intensity warning signals or lights: these warning lights must be used to indicate if there is a presence of an object. This is if the height of that certain object is above the surrounding ground level surpasses 150 meters.

– Medium intensity warning signals or lights: these must be used if the height of a certain object passing above a surrounding ground level surpasses 45 meters.

– Low intensity warning signals or lights: these lights must be used if a certain object with a height above a surrounding grounds is lower than 45 meters.

Aircraft Warning Lights: Policies

In the United Kingdom, the need for aircraft warning signals or lights on high structures actually depends on the first occurrence that any specific location of a structure is related to aerodrome. If a certain structure or building breaches the warning limitation surface of the aerodrome, there will be a need for warning lights then.

In a certain article in the policy regarding aircraft warning lights, it states that the requirement to providing warning signals or lights for structures is 150 meters of height or more. Furthermore, the specification that is required in the article states that a medium-intensity warning lights must be mounted as close as possible on top of the structure and at an intermediate levels that is not exceeding 52 meters.

Aircraft Warning Lights: Location and combination

The description on how to place or install some certain visual aids on objects include guidelines on how many levels of lamp are to be used. This is according to, or based on the given structure and type of warning light or signals to be used for each and every level.

The first general recommendation suggests that the arrangement and the number of aircraft warning signals or lights at each of the intended levels to be marked, requires the object to be indicated from every angle. It means that the total number of recommended light units really depends on the structure’s diameter.

The regulation as to what type of aircraft warning lights to be used refers to the warning dimensions and on the need of day time, night time marking, or the both of them. Generally, some are allowed to choose their lightings and light combinations for the day time and night time use. This is mainly because it may cause some environmental concerns and alarms. Furthermore, it may also cause pilots of aircrafts to dazzle in the vicinity of airports.

With regards to the location of the lights that are to be placed on the object, it is suggested that one or more high, medium, or low-intensity aircraft warning light or signal must be located as close as the probable top of the object or structure. The top light must be well-arranged so that it can indicate the points of the edges of the structure. This is in relation to the warning limitation surface.

Truly, aircraft warning light are necessary for the safety not only of those who are on aircrafts but also those who are residing on a certain building. It is necessary to have these installed on structures to prevent any further accidents. As we all know, better to prevent an accident than to experience it ourselves.

More information the deegee range of Obstruction Warning Lights can be seen here:

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