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kearnet
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Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 11:56 am

Runway edge lights brief illumination before touchdown

Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:16 am

Hello all.

Having recently moved to PHX, I'm doing some spotting at PHX, and am observing something I'm not been aware of before.

When planes are on final, the red runway edge light illuminte briefly (I'd say when the aircraft reaches 100 ft), then turn off right before the plane reaches that point.

I assume this is being triggered by the planes at a certain point, guessing as part of the auto land/CAT system.

Naturally my question is what is the purpose of the lights, what is actually triggering them, and if not answered by the previous question, why don't the just stay on constantly?
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Starlionblue
Posts: 17830
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Runway edge lights brief illumination before touchdown

Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:23 am

Runway edge lights are white. Do you mean the stop bar or the runway end lights?

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"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Woodreau
Posts: 1399
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Runway edge lights brief illumination before touchdown

Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:23 am

I think you could be mentioning the Runway Status Lights which are two separate lighting systems - the Runway Entrance Lights and Takeoff Hold Lights
The system is automated with the ASDE-X monitoring the runway and illuminating the stop lights on the runway and taxiway crossings.

It is separate from the stop bars which I believe are manually operated by ATC controllers.

https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/rwsl/
https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/rwsl/pet/
http://www.icao.int/APAC/Meetings/2015% ... 0JAPAN.pdf
http://www.eurocontrol.int/runway-status-lights
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runway_status_lights
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