Solar-powered Lights at General Aviation Airports

The FAA Aerospace Forecast reports 19,000 airports were used last year by general aviation (GA) aircraft. Most GA airports currently have minimal guidance, if any at all, for pilots making their way from runways to parking areas. The addition of solar-powered lights will provide safety for those with limited resources to pay for power, as well as for remote sites without access to electricity.


Typical hard-to-maintain taxiway light at GA airports

New self-contained taxiway lights have breakaway posts

Cross Keys Airport, which is in Gloucester County, N.J., is representative of the nation’s GA facilities. FAA visual guidance specialists are installing 90 taxiway edge lights at the airport 14 miles southeast of Philadelphia. The blue-colored Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights will remain on from dusk to dawn. These are the same taxiway lights being used now at U.S. military bases in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

An A-10 Warthog taxis through solar-powered LED lights at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan

Over the next nine months, Airport R&D will evaluate the test lights for visibility, durability, and effectiveness. If approved, the lights could benefit the 452,000 private, student, and commercial pilots who use America’s GA airports.

Airman installs light at base in Southwest Asia

Contact Project Lead: Jim Patterson, Airport R&D

Last Update: 05/18/09