How Obstruction Lighting Can Enhance Aviation Safety
If you are involved in the construction or maintenance of tall structures, you need to be aware of the importance of obstruction lighting.

Obstruction lighting, also known as aircraft warning lights or AWL, is a type of lighting system that makes these structures visible to pilots and air traffic controllers. Obstruction lighting is essential for aviation safety, as it prevents collisions and accidents that can cause serious damage and loss of life.

In this blog post, we will explain what obstruction lighting is, why it is required, what are the different types of obstruction lighting devices, and how I-TAC Group can help you with your obstruction lighting needs.

What is Obstruction Lighting?

Obstruction lighting is a term that refers to any lighting device that is installed on a structure that exceeds a certain height above ground level. The purpose of obstruction lighting is to alert pilots and air traffic controllers of the presence and location of these structures, especially during low visibility conditions, such as night time or bad weather.

Obstruction lighting is regulated by various national and international authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the United Kingdom. These authorities have established standards and specifications for the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of obstruction lighting systems.

According to these standards, any structure that has a height of more than 200 feet (60.96m) above ground level needs to have obstruction lighting. This includes not only buildings, but also any permanent or temporary structure that extends above the surrounding terrain, such as water tanks, electric and communication towers, antennas, chimneys, etc.

Why is Obstruction Lighting Required?

Obstruction lighting is required for two main reasons: safety and compliance.

Safety: Obstruction lighting enhances aviation safety by reducing the risk of collisions and accidents involving aircraft and tall structures. According to a report by the FAA, there were 1,440 reported cases of aircraft striking objects in the United States between 2010 and 2019. Of these cases, 1,104 involved fixed objects, such as buildings, towers, antennas, etc. These incidents resulted in 211 fatalities and 37 injuries. Obstruction lighting can help prevent such incidents by making these objects more visible and recognizable to pilots and air traffic controllers.

Compliance: Obstruction lighting is also required for compliance with the regulations and standards set by the relevant authorities. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, penalties, or legal actions. For example, in 2018, the FAA fined a company $1.9 million for failing to properly mark and light its towers. The company had to pay the fine and correct the violations within 12 months. Obstruction lighting can help you avoid such consequences by ensuring that your structures meet the requirements of the authorities.

What are the Different Types of Obstruction Lighting Devices?

Obstruction lighting devices can be classified into different types based on their color, intensity, flash rate, and power source.

Color: Obstruction lights can be either red or white. Red lights are used for structures that are less than 700 feet (213m) above ground level. White lights are used for structures that are more than 700 feet (213m) above ground level or for structures that are located near airports or heliports. Red lights are preferred for night time use because they are less dazzling and more compatible with night vision equipment. White lights are preferred for daytime use because they are more conspicuous against the sky background.

Intensity: Obstruction lights can have different levels of intensity depending on their height and location. The intensity is measured in candelas (cd), which is a unit of luminous intensity. The higher the intensity, the brighter the light. The intensity levels range from low (10-32 cd), medium (2000 cd), high (20 000 cd), to very high (200 000 cd). Low-intensity lights are used for structures that are less than 150 feet (45m) above ground level or for structures that are located in rural areas with low ambient light. Medium-intensity lights are used for structures that are between 150 feet (45m) and 500 feet (152m) above ground level or for structures that are located in urban areas with moderate ambient light. High-intensity lights are used for structures that are between 500 feet (152m) and 700 feet (213m) above ground level or for structures that are located near airports or heliports with high ambient light. Very high-intensity lights are used for structures that are more than 700 feet (213m) above ground level or for structures that require maximum visibility.

Flash rate: Obstruction lights can have different flash rates depending on their color and intensity. The flash rate is measured in flashes per minute (fpm). The flash rate can vary from steady (0 fpm), flashing (20-60 fpm), to strobe (40-100 fpm). Steady lights are used for red low-intensity lights. Flashing lights are used for red medium-intensity lights or for white low-intensity lights. Strobe lights are used for white medium-intensity, high-intensity, or very high-intensity lights.

Power source: Obstruction lights can have different power sources depending on their location and availability. The power source can be either normal power or solar power. Normal power refers to the electricity supplied by the grid or a generator. Solar power refers to the electricity generated by solar panels and stored in batteries. Normal power is used for structures that have access to a reliable and continuous power supply. Solar power is used for structures that are located in remote areas where the power supply is not practical or feasible.

How I-TAC Group Can Help You with Your Obstruction Lighting Needs?

I-TAC Group is a leading provider of obstruction lighting solutions for various industries and sectors. We have the expertise and experience to advise you on the right type of devices for your specific application. We provide the latest technologies that suit your requirements.

We select the right materials and components for you and supply them to your destination. I-TAC Group can assist you from concept to commissioning. When we do that, we offer the remaining services, such as installation supervision, testing and commissioning, and maintenance training, for FREE!

To know more about our capabilities, please visit our website. We would love to hear your feedback and questions, so feel free to please ​contact us today to get a ​free quote or consultation.

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