b'68 SPECIAL REPORTAre You Meeting Part 139 Requirements for Airfield Lighting? BY SEWARD FORDDont answer that question too quickly! Airport operatorscertificate holders must maintain lighting in accordance with generally have the misconception that if the lights are on,guidelines in the Advisory Circulars. So for Part 139 airports, there all is well. Tests, however, show that nothing could beis a requirement to perform the necessary inspections and to further from the truth. The human eye is simply unable to detectmaintain the lighting to FAA operational tolerances. (AC 150/5340-reductions in the photometric performance of working fixtures, and26C, Table A-8).this can potentially have serious safety implications.Our aviation system is designed so that no single failure can, As an airfield lighting consultant and educator on the topic, I amon its own, cause a fatal accident. The redundancies and checks/concerned about an inconsistency that pervades at U.S. airports.balances are a justifiable source of pride throughout the industry. In order to maintain Part 139 certification, airports must complyRunway lighting is but one important piece of this system, albeit a with FAA standards regarding the performance of runway andvery vital one in low visibility conditions.taxiway lighting. However, the FAA does not test the photometricUnfortunately, there is a systematic shortfall. FAA and ICAO performance of such lighting. perform considerable research to develop requirements for specific This malaise can be compounded by managements wishtypes of fixtures based on the photometric levels of lighting to avoid the expense of performing required inspections andrequired to help aircraft land and taxi safely in various weather conducting regular and required maintenance. If only photometricconditions. Lighting manufacturers then design and test fixtures testing and/or test equipment were eligible for AIP funding!to ensure compliance with the requirements, and airports invest According to the Part 139 regulation, specifically 139.311,in purchasing and installing these certified fixtures. Thats when October 2022AirportImprovement.com'