Regular incandescent bulbs and LEDs are the two primary lighting options employed to illuminate runways, taxiways, and other essential areas throughout airfields. Regular incandescent bulbs have been a traditional choice for years, emitting a warm and familiar glow. On the other hand, LED has rapidly gained prominence due to its advanced technology and numerous advantages. 

The selection of lighting systems from a trusted airfield lighting manufacturer can greatly influence critical factors like visibility, energy consumption, and cost reduction. In this article, we’ll compare regular incandescent and LED airport lighting, helping you decide which of the two lighting solutions is most suitable for your specific airfield needs.

Regular Incandescent Airport Lighting

Incandescent bulbs are traditional light sources that have been widely used for various applications, including airport lighting. These bulbs operate based on the principle of incandescence, which is the emission of light due to high temperatures. 

Inside an incandescent bulb, there is a filament made of a material with a high melting point, typically tungsten. When an electrical current flows through the filament, it encounters resistance, causing the filament to heat up. As the temperature of the filament rises, it starts to emit visible light as a result of thermal radiation. 

The emitted light’s color depends on the filament’s temperature, progressing from red at lower temperatures to shades of orange, yellow, and white as it becomes hotter. Unlike other light sources that emit light at specific wavelengths, incandescent bulbs emit light across a continuous spectrum.

Traditional Use of Incandescent Lighting in Airports

Incandescent lighting has been an essential part of airport lighting systems due to its warm and reliable qualities. It is extensively used in crucial airport operations, such as illuminating runway edges for precise takeoffs and landings with its instant-on feature, marking taxiways to guide aircraft safely, creating a welcoming atmosphere in apron areas, enhancing the passenger experience inside terminal buildings, and providing visible signals to pilots through navigational aids like rotating airport beacons

In addition, incandescent lighting has been utilized in flight deck vision technologies such as Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), and other similar technologies. Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS), for example, rely on the sensitivity of specialized cameras and sensors to infrared (IR) light. Incandescent bulbs emit a significant amount of infrared radiation as part of their spectrum, making them compatible with the infrared-sensitive components of NVIS. Incandescent lighting can provide the necessary illumination for such technologies without interfering with their functionality or producing excessive glare that might affect night vision.

LED Airport Lighting

LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology is a revolutionary lighting solution that has gained widespread popularity for its energy efficiency, longevity, and versatility. It operates on the principle of electroluminescence, where light is emitted when an electric current passes through a semiconductor material. Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs that rely on heating a filament to produce light, LEDs directly convert electrical energy into light through a process involving the movement of electrons within a semiconductor.

LEDs have found applications across various industries. Their compact size, durability, and ability to emit specific colors without the need for filters have opened up new possibilities for innovative lighting designs. In essence, LED technology has revolutionized the lighting landscape by offering an eco-friendly and sustainable lighting solution with unprecedented levels of energy efficiency and durability.

Adoption and Implementation of LED Lighting in Modern Airports

The adoption and implementation of LED lighting in modern airports have been driven by a combination of legislative initiatives, technological advancements, and the pursuit of enhanced energy efficiency and sustainability. The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 played a pivotal role in promoting energy-efficient lighting solutions, including LEDs, as a means to achieve improved efficiency and reduced environmental impact. This legislation prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to proactively embrace LED technology and implement the use of LED lighting systems in various airfield applications.

The transition from regular incandescent lighting to LEDs in airports aligns with the FAA’s overarching objectives of optimizing energy consumption and mitigating the ecological footprint of airport operations. LEDs offer a heightened intensity of illumination while consuming significantly less energy, resulting in both superior lighting quality and substantial reductions in energy consumption. The extended lifespan of LEDs, in comparison to conventional incandescent bulbs, translates to diminished maintenance needs and reduced expenditure on replacements. 

Comparing Regular Incandescent and LED Airport Lighting

Infographic image of key considerations when choosing between regular incandescent and led airport lighting

When evaluating lighting options from airfield lighting manufacturers, the choice between regular incandescent and LED airport lighting systems entails careful consideration of key factors, including:

    • Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

LEDs can consume up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, leading to substantial cost savings, particularly in airports where lighting aids operate around the clock. The initial investment in LED lighting systems might be higher, but the long-term financial benefits make LEDs a more cost-effective choice.

    • Lifespan and Maintenance Requirements

While incandescent bulbs may require replacement every 1,000 to 2,000 hours, LEDs can last up to 25,000 to 50,000 hours. The extended lifespan of LED lighting systems significantly reduces maintenance demands, minimizing operational disruptions and associated costs.

    • Environmental Impact and Sustainability

LED lighting systems are more environmentally friendly due to their energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. LEDs help airports lower their carbon footprint and align with global sustainability goals.

Get the Best Airport Lighting With Hali-Brite

Here at Hali-Brite, we understand the critical importance of airport safety and operational efficiency. As the leading airfield lighting manufacturer in the aviation industry, we guarantee that our lighting solutions strictly adhere to the FAA standards, ensuring that your airport operations are backed by the most reliable illumination.

We offer energy-efficient LED airport lighting equipment, such as our Airport LED Rotating Beacon L-801A(L), designed to significantly lower energy consumption and costs while maintaining uncompromised lighting quality. For more inquiries, call at 454-0956 or contact here.