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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.

Identification of the helipad is very important, which is why beacon lights are used. Provision of the beacons is important in the event that long-range visual guidance is thought to be important. These lights have to be placed in elevated areas so that there is no chance of the pilot getting dazzled at short range. Repeated series of white flashes are emitted by the beacon light. These flashes are spaced at equal intervals. They are in the form if letter H, with the Morse code used.

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.

FATO lights are supposed to be placed at the edges of the FATO (final approach and take-off area). The lights should be steady, white, omnidirectional with an intensity of 100 cd and more. The brilliancy control setting ought to be 10, 30 and 100 percent. They normally are placed along the edges of the FATO 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.

It is always important to display the preferred direction from where the helicopter should approach. This is made possible through the use of approaching lights. They are placed in a straight line along the preferred direction. They are steady, omnidirectional and white or flashing. When identification of the helipad is made difficult because of other lights in the surroundings, flashing lights come in handy. The system should not be less than 210m in the event that approach light system for non precision FATO is offered.

Aiming point lights are used to approach a specific point prior to proceeding to TLOF. They are supposed to be white, steady, omnidirectional and with intensity more than 100 candelas. Just like the other lighting systems, the brilliancy control setting should be 100, 30 and 10 percent.

For the display of the windsock and direction of the wind, windsock lights are used. Heliports are supposed to have at least one indicator of wind direction. The one to be used at night has to be illuminated.

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