Research Projects

General Aviation Guide to Airfield Lighting Maintenance

Develop model airfield lighting maintenance training tools (e.g. videos, guides) for small airports where such maintenance is performed by multi-tasked staff who are not electricians. Develop a model airfield lighting maintenance program for small airports including guidance for contracting out airfield lighting repairs when needed.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The operating budget at smaller airports (such as relievers and general aviation) may not be able to support the hiring of full-time, trained electricians. Maintenance of airfield lighting at small airports is often one of several tasks accomplished by airport operations staff. However, the type of airfield lighting equipment used on small airports is the same to that used at larger airports along with the same electrical hazards. Maintenance standards listed in AC 150/5340-26C Maintenance of Airport Visual Aid Facilities apply to all airports; however, the troubleshooting portion of the AC describes work that should only be attempted under the supervision of a qualified and trained electrician.

Airfield lighting maintenance training and certification programs do exist but can be cost prohibitive for small airports. Also, the training objectives for electricians at large hub airports should not be the same as for maintainers at reliever and general aviation airports. Regardless, most staff doing airfield lighting maintenance at small airports will never receive formal training because a program does not exist.

Currently over 84% of NPIAS airports are categorized as reliever or general aviation. Non-electrician maintenance staff at these airports should be trained to recognize the hazards of airfield lighting, to know how to accomplish some basic maintenance tasks safely, and know when to call a qualified electrician to perform repairs.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

Provide basic electrical safety and airfield lighting maintenance training tools for use by smaller airport management staffs where maintenance is performed by non-dedicated personnel without electrical training. Deliverables should be easily, locally customizable to support the establishment of an introductory and recurring training program. Guidelines will be provided for identifying when electrical should be contracted out, how to identify qualified contractors, and how to monitor their performance.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

Develop a locally modifiable training program for airfield lighting maintenance. Provide a model maintenance management program that identifies tasks important to keeping the system safe and getting the most out of the equipment. The program would incorporate applicable parts of AC 5340-26C and best practices from staff at other small airports. Provide guidance to help airport staff know when to hire electrical contractors, how to identify the required skills, and how to monitor the contractor's work.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

FAA AC 150/5340-26C Maintenance of Airport Visual Aid Facilities

ACRP Report 16 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports

ACRP Report 138 Preventive Maintenance at General Aviation Airports, Volumes 1 and 2

ACRP Report 148 LED Airfield Lighting System Operations and Maintenance

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Idea No. 564