Various Types Of Helipad Lighting

By Jody Leach

Surface level heliports are those for helicopters and are located on the ground. They are characterized by usage of large space. The typical heliport has various helipads. These are the areas that are smooth and flat and are devoted to landing and taking off of helicopters. They are normally located near conventional airports but are in lesser-used areas. Helipad lighting is very important and consists of various forms of lights.

When pilots have difficulties identifying the pilot, beacon lights are used. Beacons are provided in the event that long range visual guidance is deemed necessary. These lights are meant to be located close to the helipad, specifically at elevated locations to ensure pilots are not dazzled at close range. The lights produce equally spaced white flashes. These flashes are normally in the format of letter H of the Morse code.

Beacon lights show at all angles of azimuth, with the intensity being greater than 2500 Cd. The brilliancy control setting should be 3, 10 and 100 percent. Floodlights in helipads are for the illumination of touch down and the area of lift off. These lights are so located as to avoid glare to pilots or the personnel working around the area. The horizontal luminance should be averagely 10 lux. Floodlights also help in illumination of obstacles. Floodlights for obstacles should have a luminance of at least 10cd/m2.

The final approach and takeoff area, FATO, should be very well lit as well. FATO lights are placed at the edge of the FATO. These lights are supposed to be white, steady and omnidirectional. The intensity should be a minimum of 100 candelas. The setting of brilliancy control is 10, 30 and 100 percent. These lights are placed on the edges of the area at uniform spacing.

TLOF lights are placed on the edges of the TLOF (touchdown and lift-off area). They are steady, green, omnidirectional and have intensity of above 30 Cd. They are supposed to be placed along the edges of the TLOF. This is done within a distance of 1.5m from the edge. In the case of surface-level heliports, the lights are supposed to be placed uniformly at intervals not exceeding 5m. Rectangular shaped lights should be at least 12, with the circular shaped ones being 14 in number.

The direction of approach is displayed using approaching lights. These are placed on a straight line on the preferred direction. They are supposed to be steady and omnidirectional. They should be flashing in case the helipad cannot be easily identified because of lots of light around.

To approach certain areas before proceeding to the TLOF, aiming point lights should be used. They are white and steady, with an intensity that exceeds 100 cd. Brilliancy control setting is 10, 30 and 100 percent.

Windsock lighting is used to display the windsock and thus direction of wind. A helipad should have at least one indicator of wind direction. Illumination is mandatory for the one used at night.

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