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 assisted 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 in the areas of solid-state lighting and vision science to provide new lighting solutions that benefit the aviation industry.
Through its work with the FAA, the LRC has studied 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.
Project Summary Sheets
Predicting LED Signal Brightness
Chromaticity Boundaries for LED Signal Lights
Effective Intensity for Flashing Lights
OLED Light Sources for Airfield Signage
Remote Airfield LED Lighting System
LED Elevated Runway Guard Lights
LED Airfield Fixture Lighting System Life
Technical Reports, Publications & Presentations
Perera, I.U., and N. Narendran. 2016. Measuring the temperature of high-luminous exitance surfaces with infrared thermography in LED applications. Proceedings of SPIE 9954, Fifteenth International Conference on, 99540K (September 7, 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2240650.
Bullough, J.D. and N. Chambers. 2015. Characterizing the benefits of linear airfield lighting elements. Illuminating Engineering Society Aviation Lighting Committee Fall Technology Meeting, Denver, CO, October 18-22.
Bullough, J.D., Z. Yuan, M.S. Rea, and D.W. Gallagher. 2015. FAA Technical Note: Brightness/Luminous Intensity Values for Blue, White, and Green Aviation Signal Lights Using Light-Emitting Diodes. DOT/FAA/TC-TN15/32, July 2015.
Tan, J. and N. Narendran. 2015. Defining phosphor luminescence property requirements for white AC LED flicker reduction. Journal of Luminescence 167: 21 –26.
Bullough, J.D. 2014. Can LEDs be seen in fog as well as incandescent lamps? Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Bullough, J.D. 2014. Matching LED and incandescent aviation signal brightness. Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Bullough, J.D., and N.P. Skinner. 2014. Can linear light sources be beneficial to pilots? Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Bullough, J.D., and N.P. Skinner. 2014. Do LEDs increase the accuracy of LED aviation signal light color identification by pilots with and without color-deficient vision? Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Bullough, J.D., J. Tan, N. Narendran, and J.P. Freyssinier. 2014. Understanding flicker in airfield lighting applications. Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Narendran, N. and J.P. Freyssinier. 2014. How is the operational failure of LED fixtures identified? Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Radetsky, L.C., N.P. Skinner, N. Narendran, and J.D. Bullough. 2014. Can the intensity of LED-based runway guard lights be reduced? Proceedings of the 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Galloway, N.J., August 4-8, 2014.
Tan, J. and N. Narendran. 2014. An approach to reduce AC LED flicker. Journal of Light and Visual Environment 38: 6–11.
Bullough, J.D., and N.P. Skinner. 2013. Conspicuity of flashes of light: Interactions between intensity and duration. Journal of Modern Optics 60: 1193-1199.
Bullough, J.D., N.P. Skinner, and R.T. Taranta. 2013. Characterising the effective intensity of multiple-pulse flashing signal lights. Lighting Research and Technology 45(3): 377-390.
Bullough, J. D. and N. P. Skinner. 2013. Influence of visual signal flash intensity and duration on perception. Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium, Orlando, FL, February 26-March 1. Quincy, MA: Fire Protection Research Foundation, National Fire Protection Association.
Jayawardena, A., Y. Liu, and N. Narendran. 2013. Analysis of three different junction temperature estimations methods for AC LEDs. Solid-State Electronics 86: 11–16; doi: 10.1016/j.sse.2013.04.001.
Tan, J., and N. Narendran. 2013. A driving scheme to reduce AC LED flicker. Proceedings of SPIE 8835: 88350O.
Bullough, J.D. 2012. Issues With Use of Airfield LED Light Fixtures, ACRP Synthesis 35. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, National Academies.
Summary | Full-text PDF
Bullough, J.D., N.P. Skinner, A. Bierman, N.J. Milburn, R.T. Taranta, N. Narendran, and D.W. Gallagher. 2012. Nonincandescent Source Aviation Signal Light Colors, DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/61. Washington: FAA.
Bullough, J. D. 2011. Aviation signal lighting: Impacts of lighting characteristics on visibility. Advances in Applied Science Research 2(1): 16-27.
Jayawardena, A., Y. Liu, and N. Narendran. 2011. Methods for estimating junction temperature of AC LEDs. Eleventh International Conference on Solid State Lighting, San Diego, CA, August 22-25, 2011. Proceedings of SPIE 8123: 81230I.
Summary | Full-text PDF
Rea, M.S., Z. Yuan, and A. Bierman. 2009. The unified system of photometry applied to remote airfield lighting. Lighting Research and Technology 41(1): 51-70.
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.
Effectiveness of Linear Lighting for Airfields (2017)
LED Airfield Lighting and Human Factors (2017)
Using Phosphor Luminescence to Reduce Ac LED Flicker (2015)
Evaluating the Benefits of Linear Airfield Delineation (2014)
Long-term Evaluation of LED Airfield Luminaires (2014)
Comparing the Effective Intensity of Flashing Lights (2013)
Effects of VOCs on LED Lighting Packages (2013)
Reducing Flicker from AC LEDs (2013)
Color Identification of LED Aviation Signal Lights (2011)
Optimizing Elevated Runway Guard Lights with LEDs (2011)
Estimating AC LED Junction Temperature (2010)
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)
LEDs for airfield lighting: A medley of human factors. International Airport Review 20(5): 34 –36, September 2016.
Airfield lighting: The long-term performance of LEDs. International Airport Review 18(2): 38–41, April 2014.
Light-emitting diode airfield lighting systems. International Airport Review, October 2012.
Lighting up the aviation industry. Rensselaer Alumni Magazine Fall 2012, pp. 20–27.
LRC's Bullough Authors National Academies Report on LED Airfield Lighting – Press Release, July 2012
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)