The Federal Aviation Administration recently sponsored a consortium of American universities (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of North Dakota – Aerospace, University of Alaska, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) to develop technical specifications for remote airfield lighting systems that will be used for nighttime operations by general (noncommercial) aircraft.
As part of this project, the LRC conducted three psychophysical experiments dealing specifically with the effects of light source intensity, color, and flash frequency on both objective and subjective measures of behavior under simulated flight conditions. Of special significance, this study showed for the first time that the unified system of photometry developed by the LRC to model the relative contributions of rods and cones for a given visual task could also be used to model the relative contributions of rods and cones for sequential visual tasks. The LRC’s proposed unified system of photometry was designed to characterize light at any level including mesopic levels, bridging the photopic and scotopic luminous efficacy functions.
Mark Rea, Zongie Yuan, and Andrew Bierman have co-authored a paper, “The Unified System of Photometry Applied to Remote Airfield Lighting,” recently published in Lighting Research and Technology (2009; 41: 51-70), that explains the concept in full detail.
Details of the LRC’s completed research in remote airfield lighting systems can be found here.