A unique and special look at runway lighting by night
We want to show you something really special – runway lighting at Hanover Airport at night. At dusk, a veritable shower of lights appears. Aircraft land almost automatically, but lights always give the pilots orientation as to whether things are going right. On the taxiways and the apron, lights of various colours, so-called navigation lights, show the right way.
The intervals and colours are internationally standardized and the lamps are embedded in the ground so that the large aircraft can simply roll over them. If a lamp is broken, the airport transport manager registers this on one of his daily control rounds. This time he took us along. We can promise you – the sea of lights at night is a splendid sight at the airport.
“With increasing darkness we put lighting control into action. This means looking to see if all the lights necessary for air traffic are on. This includes the lighting on the apron, the red obstruction lights and others. Are all positions illuminated? Are the docking systems ready for operation?
We will now begin with lighting control on the runways.
Good evening ground control, Airport 1
Switchboard: “Airport 1, start”
“Okay. I just talked to the ground controller. He cleared me for the taxiways – but to begin with only up to the ground marking. We can’t inspect the actual runway yet. While I drive along the taxiways I look to see if all the obstruction lights are on. Whether the centerlines are illuminated. These are the green lights on the yellow line in front of us.
Now we’ve got a new frequency.
Good evening tower, Airport 1, ground marking 09 left for lighting control.”
Switchboard: “Airport 1, good evening. Request permission to access 09 left.”
“Permission to access runway 09 left is granted for Airport 1.”
Switchboard: “Airport 1, please leave the runway again. We have a take-off..”
“The tower assigns me to time slots between aircraft. That means that take-offs and landings on the runways go ahead as usual. We squeeze in between.
In principle we have two modes. For one, standard white illumination like you see here. Red illumination is switched on in foggy weather.
If I see any lamps not functioning properly, I notify the control room. In cases of anything more serious, I notify apron control or air traffic control.
Although I am in charge of lighting control, I also look to see what condition the runway is in, of course. Sometimes I get out to judge a situation better or even pick something up which doesn’t belong there.
That’s got its appeal. It makes the job desirable. The illumination and all the airplanes coming in. I think it’s quite unique.”