The FAA is surveying pilots with experience with Light Emitting Diode (LED) airport/heliport lighting during approach, landing, ground movement and takeoff phases of flight.
According to a report on the National Business Aviation Association website, the FAA held a symposium last fall regarding LED lamps and their application on airports.
FAA officials made technical presentations on LED research, and outlined a proposed operational flight test plan for LED approach light systems that could be deployed in the U.S. National Airspace System.
LED airport lighting has been an item of interest for FAA’s Flight Standards Service for a number of years, and the focus has primarily been on the issues involving enhanced flight vision systems and the inability to “see” LEDs due to the lack of an infrared signature.
The FAA noted that little operational flight testing has been done, because the FAA has not installed LED approach lighting at any location other than at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.
Additionally, many airports have expressed an interest in replacing traditional incandescent lighting with LEDs for economic reasons, including airport ground lighting such as approach light systems, runway centerline, taxiway, and ramp lighting.
The agency said it intends to sponsor the development of an LED flight test plan, which will include all the appropriate FAA services and offices, as well as input from those in the aviation industry who wish to participate.