About Me

Hello My Name is Colin, I have been Interested in Lamps and Lighting since I was a child, I have built up a vast Collection of All types of Electric Lamps and Lights, from a standard 60 watt filament bulb to an actual Aircraft Landing Light off a A.V.Roe Vulcan Nuclear Bomber! I have created this Site to show my Collection of Airfield/Runway Lighting.

With the Help of Members of Airport Lighting.com, E-bay, and Robert Cookson, I have built up a collection of Airfield/Runway Lights and Lamps both Civil and Military from World War II to date

Airfield and Runway Lighting

With the number of first-rate radio aids to air navigation available today, it is not surprising that some people imagine that pilots of aircraft no longer rely on their eyes and could quite happily take off, cover vast distances, and land, blind. This is not, however, the case. Highly efficient though radio beams and "talk down" systems may be, known as ILS (Instrument Landing System), there comes a point when touch-down is approaching the pilot's eyes must take over. Though in good weather in daylight their task, coupled with the acquired skill, may not be hard, at night, and particularly when the weather is not so good, they would be almost useless without those visual aids from the ground which the lighting can provide.

Planning these is no simple matter, for they must not only be easy to see but easy to understand, for the techniques of flying by what can be seen or, as it is called, by contact and by instruments are so different that during the approach the pilot cannot return to instrument flying once he has decided to leave it - there simply is not time for him to readjusts his facilities.

There are several good examples of which the way in which lighting is assisting night flying in the UK but one of the best was to be found at London Heathrow Airport in the 1950/60s, where the 'Line and Bar' system, developed by E.S. Calvert at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, was used.

The most important feature of the 'Line and Bar' system is the series of transverse bars 500ft apart, which in effect, provide an artificial horizon, when the true horizon cannot be seen. Together with the pilot to line they make it possible for the pilot to hold his aircraft level and to tell at a glance how much he is banking or getting off track as well as helping the ground plane.

The centre line itself composed of Approach Lights equipped with 250w B1 filament projector lamps. At Heathrow these lights forming the 'line' are arranged in groups of three for the first 1,000 feet, in pairs for the second 1,000 feet, and singly for the last 1,000 feet, a scheme which helps the estimation of distance.

The Cross bars are formed of 140 watt (Later rerated 90 watts) Low Pressure Sodium Lamps (as seen in today's Street Lighting) in Specially Designed Floodlights. These lights gave a wider beam than the centre line lights and their characteristic yellow colour  makes them easier to distinguish in built up areas, than filament lamps. More over, their size gives texture to the pattern and helps to judge the altitude.

Beyond the line and bars is the runway itself which is defined by more lamps. These are contained in fittings with domed tops and are recessed into the concrete surface so that the aircraft can run over them if necessary. Placed at standard intervals they also help the pilot's judgement of height when making his touchdown.

These fittings presented many design problems, for not only had to be strong, airtight and watertight, but give a beam in the opposite directions so that they would be equally visible from either end of the runway. That these requirements were met by as yet another tribute to British designers and represents but one of many highly specialised problems which had to be overcome.

The Line and Bar approach lighting at London Heathrow Airport (1950s), In good weather single filament lamps are used on the centreline as shown Here

In poor weather conditions the approach lighting at London Heathrow Airport (1950s)is stepped up considerably. Compare the three-lamp centre line with the picture above.

A close up of one of the bars in the line and bar approach lighting. The circular fitting in the centre contains the 250w B1 filament projector lamp and is part of the centre line, the other fittings use 90w sodium lamps the colour of which makes them more visible in built up areas.

Typical B1/2 240 volt 250 watt Projection Lamp as was used in the Centreline Lighting.

Today's Typical Modern Tungsten Halogen High IntensityApproach Light.

Typical 90 watt Sodium lamp as was used on the Crossbar and Poor weather lighting.

Today’s Approach/Runway lighting which comprises of all Tungsten Halogen lamps.

Today's Typical Modern 6.6amp 150 watt Tungsten Halogen Airfield Lamp.


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