About | Approach lighting System :

An approach lighting system, or ALS, is a lighting system installed on the approach end of an airport runway and consisting of a series of lightbars, strobe lights, or a combination of the two that extends outward from the runway end. ALS usually serves a runway that has an instrument approach procedure (IAP) associated with it and allows the pilot to visually identify the runway environment and align the aircraft with the runway upon arriving at a prescribed point on an approach.

The first fixed runway lighting possibly appeared in 1930

Modern approach lighting systems are highly complex in their design and significantly enhance the safety of aircraft operations, particularly in conditions of reduced visibility. The earliest approach lighting systems were far removed from the current sophisticated generation of ALS's and were developed before/during World War II.

ALS provide the basic means to transition from instrument flight to visual flight for landing. Operational requirements dictate the sophistication and configuration of the approach light system for a particular runway.

ALS are a configuration of signal lights starting at the landing threshold and extending into the approach area a distance of 2400-3000 feet for precision instrument runways and 1400-1500 feet for nonprecision instrument runways. Some systems include sequenced flashing lights which appear to the pilot as a ball of light traveling towards the runway at high speed (twice a second).

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