Bringing Advanced, Energy-Efficient LED Lighting to Aviation
Advanced, energy-efficient lighting is one strategy at the forefront of 21st century global research to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), a type of solid-state lighting, can benefit the aviation industry and U.S. airfields significantly. LEDs promise lower energy consumption, reduced maintenance, and better visual perception for pilots.
Yet implementing LEDs is not as simple as unscrewing one light bulb and replacing it with another. LEDs are an inherently different light source than traditional incandescent lamps, requiring a complex understanding of their benefits, drawbacks, perception differences, and how they can be best integrated into lighting systems.
Since 2005, the LRC has been assisting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its research divisions through synergistic activities that combine the LRC's expertise in lighting technologies, applications and human factors research. The LRC conducts lighting research as part of the Center of Excellence for Airport Technology, applying its expertise in the areas of solid-state lighting and vision science to provide new lighting solutions that benefit the aviation industry.
As part of the Center of Excellence, the LRC studies the potential performance and application of LEDs in airport and airfield lighting. The LRC looks at how this new technology can be applied to light runways, taxiways, approaches, and other areas of the airfield. To date, the LRC has investigated:
The LRC is using these investigations as the basis to help the FAA create and amend performance metrics and requirements that are appropriate for LED airfield lighting.
Technical Reports and Publications
Bullough, J.D., Z. Yuan, and M.S. Rea. 2007. Perceived brightness of incandescent and LED aviation signal lights. Aviat. Space Environ Med. 78(9): 893-900.
Gu, Y., A. Baker, and N. Narendran. 2007. Investigation of thermal management technique in blue LED airport taxiway fixtures. Seventh International Conference on Solid State Lighting, Proceedings of SPIE 6669: 66690U.
Project Summary Sheets
Comparing the Effective Intensity of Flashing Lights (2013)
Effects of VOCs on LED Lighting Packages (2013)
Color Identification of LED Aviation Signal Lights (2011)
Optimizing Elevated Runway Guard Lights with LEDs (2011)
Redefining White Light Chromaticity Boundaries for Aviation (2009)
Standalone PV-LED Lighting for Aviation (2009)
FAA Runway Guard Lights (2008)
Building a Better LED Airport Taxiway Light (2007)
LED Aviation Signal Light Brightness (2007)
Remote Airfield Lighting Systems (2007)
Remote Airfield Lighting (2006)
Light-emitting diode airfield lighting systems. International Airport Review, October 2012.
Lighting up the aviation industry. Rensselaer Alumni Magazine Fall 2012, pp. 20–27.
Technology innovation and advance LEDs for airfield lighting. International Airport Review 15(6): 48–51, December 2011.
Transforming airfield lighting: The research into LED technology. International Airport Review, Issue 5, September 2010
Lighting Research Center Selected to Join FAA Centers of Excellence Program – Press Release, September 2005
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)