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Aviation Glossary :: AIRPORT LIGHTING  Aviation Glossary :: AIRPORT LIGHTING FAA Written Test Preparation
Aviation Glossary Welcome to the Dauntless Aviation Glossary!

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Various lighting aids that may be installed on an airport. Types of airport lighting include:
  1. Approach Light System (ALS)- An airport lighting facility which provides visual guidance to landing aircraft by radiating light beams in a directional pattern by which the pilot aligns the aircraft with the extended centerline of the runway on his/her final approach for landing. Condenser-Discharge Sequential Flashing Lights/Sequenced Flashing Lights may be installed in conjunction with the ALS at some airports. Types of Approach Light Systems are:
  2. ALSF-1- Approach Light System with Sequenced Flashing Lights in ILS Cat-I configuration.
  3. ALSF-2- Approach Light System with Sequenced Flashing Lights in ILS Cat-II configuration. The ALSF-2 may operate as an SSALR when weather conditions permit.
  4. SSALF- Simplified Short Approach Light System with Sequenced Flashing Lights.
  5. SSALR- Simplified Short Approach Light System with Runway Alignment Indicator Lights.
  6. MALSF- Medium Intensity Approach Light System with Sequenced Flashing Lights.
  7. MALSR- Medium Intensity Approach Light System with Runway Alignment Indicator Lights.
  8. RLLS- Runway Lead-in Light System Consists of one or more series of flashing lights installed at or near ground level that provides positive visual guidance along an approach path, either curving or straight, where special problems exist with hazardous terrain, obstructions, or noise abatement procedures.
  9. RAIL- Runway Alignment Indicator Lights- Sequenced Flashing Lights which are installed only in combination with other light systems.
  10. ODALS- Omnidirectional Approach Lighting System consists of seven omnidirectional flashing lights located in the approach area of a nonprecision runway. Five lights are located on the runway centerline extended with the first light located 300 feet from the threshold and extending at equal intervals up to 1,500 feet from the threshold. The other two lights are located, one on each side of the runway threshold, at a lateral distance of 40 feet from the runway edge, or 75 feet from the runway edge when installed on a runway equipped with a VASI. (Refer to FAAO JO 6850.2, VISUAL GUIDANCE LIGHTING SYSTEMS.)
  11. Runway Lights/Runway Edge Lights- Lights having a prescribed angle of emission used to define the lateral limits of a runway. Runway lights are uniformly spaced at intervals of approximately 200 feet, and the intensity may be controlled or preset.
  12. Touchdown Zone Lighting- Two rows of transverse light bars located symmetrically about the runway centerline normally at 100 foot intervals. The basic system extends 3,000 feet along the runway.
  13. Runway Centerline Lighting- Flush centerline lights spaced at 50-foot intervals beginning 75 feet from the landing threshold and extending to within 75 feet of the opposite end of the runway.
  14. Threshold Lights- Fixed green lights arranged symmetrically left and right of the runway centerline, identifying the runway threshold.
  15. Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL)- Two synchronized flashing lights, one on each side of the runway threshold, which provide rapid and positive identification of the approach end of a particular runway.
  16. Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI)- An airport lighting facility providing vertical visual approach slope guidance to aircraft during approach to landing by radiating a directional pattern of high intensity red and white focused light beams which indicate to the pilot that he/she is "on path" if he/she sees red/white, "above path" if white/white, and "below path" if red/red. Some airports serving large aircraft have three-bar VASIs which provide two visual glide paths to the same runway.
  17. Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI)- An airport lighting facility, similar to VASI, providing vertical approach slope guidance to aircraft during approach to landing. PAPIs consist of a single row of either two or four lights, normally installed on the left side of the runway, and have an effective visual range of about 5 miles during the day and up to 20 miles at night. PAPIs radiate a directional pattern of high intensity red and white focused light beams which indicate that the pilot is "on path" if the pilot sees an equal number of white lights and red lights, with white to the left of the red; "above path" if the pilot sees more white than red lights; and "below path" if the pilot sees more red than white lights.
  18. Boundary Lights- Lights defining the perimeter of an airport or landing area.
source: FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary

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Disclaimer: While this glossary in most cases is likely to be highly accurate and useful, sometimes, for any number of editorial, transcription, technical, and other reasons, it might not be. Additionally, as somtimes you may have found yourself brought to this page through an automated term matching system, you may find definitions here that do not match the cotext or application in which you saw the original term. Please use your good judgement when using this resource.

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