LED Airfield Lighting System Operation and Maintenance

Airports require reliable airfield lighting to ensure continuity of service at night or other periods with low visibility. A significant component of an airport's operating budget is dedicated to operating and maintaining airfield lighting systems. Light Emitting Diode (LED) airfield lighting offers a potential for substantially reduced maintenance and utility costs. In addition, the industry is accelerating the replacement of traditional lighting technologies with new, more efficient technologies, such as LED, in response to the Energy Independence and Security Act (2007). While LED lighting offers improved efficiencies and reliability, there are several challenges to its operation and maintenance (O&M), including potential for obstruction by snow and ice, unique maintenance training and orientation requirements, and the desire to monitor system performance. Additionally, O&M factors should also be considered during the design and implementation of airfield lighting systems. Research is needed to develop guidance for airports to optimize the operation and maintenance of LED airfield lighting systems. The objective of this research is to prepare a guidebook for airports describing the best operating and maintenance practices for LED airfield lighting systems, and the issues to be considered during their design and construction. The guidebook should include (but not be limited to): (1) A review of the use of LED technology for airfield lighting, its advantages and disadvantages versus other lighting technologies (e.g., lack of an infrared signature), and future trends. (2) A list of sources to obtain FAA-approved/certified vendors and fixtures. (3) O&M factors to be considered in LED airfield system design, including (but not limited to): a)Airport type (e.g., small general aviation, reliever, commercial service), activity level, geographic location, and maintenance staffing level; b)Selection of optics materials (e.g., glass, polycarbonate); c)LED fixture heaters; d)Integration with other lighting technologies; e)Replacement of existing infrastructure vs. reuse; f)Circuitry modifications; and g) Monitoring options (e.g., electronic vs. manual) for determining maintenance needs and assessing system performance. (4) Commissioning considerations for handing off LED airfield lighting systems to the owner, including initial training, technical manuals, and other materials. (5) O&M considerations, including: a) Continuous training, including training options and frequency (e.g., seminars, on-the-job, training in response to system upgrades); b) Spare parts inventory maintenance strategies; c) Maintenance/technical support options (e.g., external, on-call vs. in-house); and d)Determining unit end-life. (6) Removal/reinstallation guidance (e.g., during pavement maintenance). (7) Approaches to protecting LED airfield lighting systems from atypical conditions (e.g., flooding, chemical contamination, insect infestation). (8) Case study examples of LED airfield lighting system projects that provide: a) A general description of the airport airfield, its activity level, and annual maintenance budget; b) A description of the project, including general scope and cost; c) Approach to procurement and installation; d) Approach to monitoring and maintenance procedures, maintenance schedules, use of third-party support, staffing levels; e) Spare parts inventory and control; and f) Process for determining return-on-investment, if applicable. (9) Best LED operation and maintenance practices based on a review of literature, researcher experience, and case study results.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $340000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 09-09

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Navarrete, Joseph

  • Performing Organizations:

    Burns Engineering

  • Principal Investigators:

    Burns, John

  • Start Date: 20130809
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150208
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37812

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543869
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 09-09
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 22 2014 1:01AM