When you hear the phrase "bright lights, big city," Las Vegas may be one of the first places that comes to mind. Effective light management, however, is an exacting science that takes into account many variables such as lumens, energy usage, lamp longevity and even light pollution. All of the above and more came into play when Henderson Executive Airport (HND), located in the very shadow of Vegas' world-famous "strip", expanded its airfield ramp area and installed new lighting during a four-month, $4 million project last fall.
HND's new fixtures use light emitting diodes (LEDs)-the latest, brightest technology available. As such, it is one of the first airports in North America to leverage the technology in a ramp area. Among the many benefits: neighbors don't complain about light pollution anymore and the airport expects to cut its energy consumption nearly in half.
Originally known as Sky Harbor Airport, HND was renamed in 1996, when it was purchased by Clark County to be used as a reliever facility for nearby McCarran International Airport.
Project: LED Ramp Lighting
Location: Henderson (NV) Executive Airport
Total Cost: $4 million (ramp expansion & lighting)
Funding: Airport Improvement Program; Dept. of Aviation
Construction Timeline: 90 days
Completed: Nov. 2015
Electrical Contractor: Royal Electric
Lighting Subcontractor: ADB Safegate
Product Name: ewo
Expected Service Life: 50,000+ hours
Key Benefits: Improved airfield safety; enhanced visibility & less glare; fewer complaints about light pollution from neighbors; 50% reduction in energy usage
Since then, the Clark County Department of Aviation has invested more than $30 million to create a premier business aviation airport, reports Airport Manager Bruce Daugherty. "The new and improved Henderson Executive Airport caters to business aviation, while continuing to meet the needs of the general aviation community. By developing Henderson Executive Airport as an attractive, convenient and economical alternative to McCarran, Department of Aviation officials hope to increase capacity at the nation's eighth-busiest airport by attracting corporate flyers to the first-class facility."
In the years following its purchase, the county has completed several major projects, including the construction of two parallel runways, the longest being 6,500 feet. It has also added substantial utility infrastructure, a new maintenance building and 15 acres of ramp for aircraft parking, complete with three shade hangars.
"As the Las Vegas valley continued to grow, Henderson Executive Airport is now an integral part of the thriving community of Henderson and is only a few miles from the south end of the popular Las Vegas Strip," Daugherty says. "With new runways and buildings, [we have] become a first-class reliever for McCarran International Airport and an integral part of the Clark County Airport System, which also includes North Las Vegas, Jean Sport Aviation Center and Overton/Perkins Field."
Throughout the airport's growth and development, officials and staff focused on providing friendly and personal service, he adds.
Accommodating More Jets
When HND expanded its ramp with 675,000 square feet of new space, adding tie-down space for transient jets was a primary goal, but improving lighting was also a key component.
"The new ramp and lighting were constructed to accommodate our fixed-base customers, allowing the area previously occupied by them to be used for future expansion to meet the demands of the growing number of transient jet customers visiting the Las Vegas Valley," explains Daugherty. "The project took four months, was completed on schedule and met the goals we set from the start."
Funding for the $4 million project came from the federal Airport Improvement Program and Nevada Department of Aviation. Because construction occurred away from the airport's main operations area, HND didn't experience any service interruptions during the project.
"Overall, we are very satisfied with the results of the project and would recommend the use of LED lighting to other airports considering it," Daugherty comments.
Happy Pilots & Neighbors
ADB Safegate, the company that supplied the ramp lighting, expects the energy savings associated with the airport's new LEDs to approach 50%. But the inherent efficiency of LED technology is not the project's only benefit.
"Precise lighting from the corner mast locations also increases energy savings, while the multi-layer lighting design ensures that the lumen output is distributed uniformly across multiple LED light units," explains Tim Winkelman, the company's Southwest regional sales manager.
The 0.0% upward light ratio of the new system has eliminated complaints from neighbors about light pollution. And reduced glare for pilots and Air Traffic Control personnel increases overall airfield safety.
There are also contingency advantages. "In case of an individual light failure, the full area will remain lit at a slightly lower level of illumination," says Winkelman. "In the event of a power failure, a hot-restart feature ensures illumination is restored in less than a second without the need for additional electronic equipment typically required by conventional lighting systems."
Due to the fixtures' unique housing design, the lights do not require cooling fins, he adds. This feature prevents dirt deposit build-up, which can reduce the lamp's heat-management capability and shorten the product's service life. The anticipated lifecycle for HND's new ramp lights more than 50,000 hours. The modular design of the fixtures helps lower service costs, notes Winkelman. The flat-glass cover offers enhanced protection in demanding environments and facilitates easy maintenance, he explains.
Royal Electric, the local contractor that installed the LED ramp lighting, was proud to be a part of the project that was a North American first. Company owner Randy Sondrial describes the performance of HND's final product as "second to none."