Essential Heliport Lights Installation Ideas

By Kerri Stout

An airport without lighting system would be very dangerous especially at night and would most certainly lead to overshooting the runway or crash on landings. Touchdown areas for helicopters should be lighted by the heliport lights. There are guidelines to use on elevated, ground or rooftop heliports when installing the lighting system and on the helipads which should be adhered to for uniformity all over the world.

Approach lightings to indicate the best approach for helicopter touchdown should be installed for guiding the chopper pilot on how to approach the heliport correctly to safely touchdown. Three rows of light should be used in this system in intervals of 30 meters. 90 meters from the take off and the last approach perimeter an 18 meters long crossbar should be set. The crossbar holds light at right angle to lines of the approach light which are at a spacing of 4.5 meters between them.

Additional light bulbs can be added beyond the crossbar at intervals of 30m if the final approach needs to be made more visible. The light can either be flashing or steady whichever suits the environment best. The light should be at least 210 meters in length if the approach lighting for a non-precision final approach and take off area.

Lighting for the FATO (Final Approach and Take-Off) area should be done at the edges covering all the FATO area if it a ground level heliport. Rectangular or squarely constructed one should have at least 4 lights at the spacing of 50 meters making sure each corner has a light. Lighting for other shapes of FATO should be made at 5 meter intervals and the minimum number of light bulbs to be 10. The light should be white in color and in all directions.

Aiming lights are also required in heliports. The pilot needs guidance on how to approach the touchdown for safe landing and these lights are his or her guide. They are arranged in such a manner to form a wedge shape pointing the touchdown. 6 white light bulbs make the aiming light with a light at each of the three vertexes.

Floodlight and perimeter light bulbs is another part of the lighting system which is installed in the touchdown and lift-off area. In case the FATO lights are installed then luminescent panel light bulbs should be used at a spacing of 3m in elevated ones and for the ground ones a spacing of 5m. Green is the color of these lights and they should be steady with a minimum of 4 light bulbs each side. If floodlights are to be used then they are placed at 10m intervals on the floor. The light bulbs should be either at the edge or at a maximum of 1.5m away from the touchdown

The system will not be complete without taxiway and apron lightings. They are blue in color and omni-directional. A 240V low voltage transformer is used to power them.

Heliport light installation guidelines can be found from ICAO. The brilliancy of the light should adjustable to control light intensity in different weather conditions. Lightings should be done correctly in heliports for safety purposes.

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