S4GA - Helipad and Airport Lighting Company
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Jun 26 2019

5-Level Protection Against System Failure

The safety of aviation operations is always the most important element of all engineering activities, the effect of which is putting into service any instruments, machines, devices, pilot support systems in their difficult and responsible work. It is not different with products manufactured by S4GA which guarantees the highest level of security available on the market for proper operation of the airport lighting system.

The superiority of S4GA airfield ground lighting system in comparison with hard-wired, still frequently used airport lighting is out of the question. S4GA solar AGL is specially designed, produced and can be delivered to any place where cost-effective and reliable permanent airfield lighting is needed. The S4GA solution is completely independent of any power source except the sun and doesn’t need any large infrastructure investments. It’s World’s Safest Runway Lighting and there are some good reasons to treat it as proven.

AGL system failure means losing the runway lights that make it impossible to maintain any flying operations freely and safely. Such a scenario cannot happen to the airports equipped with S4GA solar runway lighting. It is engineered in a way that makes system failure and runway blackout practically impossible. This revolutionary change is designed on a very solid basis of multiple safeguards against a total or partial failure of the system, preventing its use. There are as many as five levels of protection against entire system failure.

Level 1 – Distributed Power Source

Runway Lighting powered by solar energyAs opposed to cable-supplied lighting, which creates an electrical circuit, i.e. an internally dependent system, S4GA offers lamps with built-in power banks, independent from each other fully. That means a guarantee of full reliability of the whole lighting system regardless of the failure of its individual components. Even if one or two lamps stop operating, which is unlikely – what’s about hereinafter in the text – the others airfield lights operate without any problems and a 1-2% reduction of the amount of lights has no real impact on aviation operations after dusk or with limited visibility. The individual power supply for each lamp is the ultimate and optimal solution, as defined by the reliability analysis of the entire system. The practice of dispersed sources of energy, its storage and distribution have been the most frequently used and fastest developing principle in recent years for the construction and use of highly complex systems.

Level 2 – Backup Power Source

Powering of SP-401 solar airfield lightEach light has dual power bank: two independent standard type batteries which in fact exhausts the sense of the engineering in this area. It may only be better if each lamp has three or more independent sources, but even in aviation, such redundancy would be exaggerated a little bit. The chance that both batteries will fail at the same time in purely scientific terms does not exist.

Watch this video about power safety of S4GA solar airfield lighting.

Level 3 – Power Independent from Control

On hard-wired airfields, the power supply and control on runway lights use the same cable network. Structure of S4GA solar runway lighting is different. Control over the lights is performed by S4GA Mesh wireless network (not cables). Even in a theoretical case, the radio (not the cable) control on the lights is out of order the lights are still on or can be quickly made on, as each unit has a traditional switch and the whole device can be easily and quickly started manually.

Such a situation can happen and then all airplanes can start and land safely although for airport personnel it could be temporarily uncomfortable and irritating.

Level 4 – Individual Light MoNitoring

S4GA has designed and implemented ALCMS – Airfield Lighting Control and Monitoring System to provide full remote control and monitoring of solar runway lighting from the tower or maintenance room. The unique feature of S4GA ALCMS comparing to other AGL control systems is the ability to monitor every single lamp and auto-report about lamp failure (visually via ALCMS or by SMS).

In this way, airport personnel can quickly identify the nature and location of breakdown and fix the issue ASAP. Usually, it’s just replacing the inoperative battery with the spare one within a couple of minutes. Basic information covers the battery charge level and whether the device is turned on or off.

Airfield Lighting Control from ATCThat makes a difference in comparison with traditional, wired airfield lighting system, where identification and fixing the problems can take hours or even days.. ALCMS provides the ability to establish a list of people who receive automatic notifications about the system status directly on their mobile phones.

Besides SMS auto-reporting, S4GA ALCMS, of course, allows airport personnel to control separate groups of lights and the entire AGL system – turn on or change lights brightness. Runway edges, taxiways, PAPI lights, and approach lights direction is controlled using ALCMS.

To sum up: full control over the whole system, groups of lights and individual light control, which allows for immediate response to any (few) disturbances, makes it possible for all airports equipped with S4GA solar airfield lighting to run night flight operations easily and safely.

Watch S4GA Webinar and learn more about control & monitoring of S4GA airfield lighting.

Level 5 – Control System Backup

Portable runway lights remote activation_5-level protection against system failure_S4GAControl over S4GA solar runway lighting system is secured by few extra levels which makes almost impossible to lose control over the lights. S4GA ALCMS consists of hardware and software. In case of software (monitors mainly) problems one can use UR-201 Control and Monitoring Unit which is a hardware panel and could be operated manually. In case of loss of both the computer program and UR-201 Unit, a Handheld Controller applies. Via handheld controller solar runway lighting system can be switched on/off completely or selected groups of lights, changed brightness and turned on in special mode (dusk till dawn, NVG). In the worst scenario when there is no remote control at all, one can, like in the old days of aviation, simply operate each lamp manually. The system will function safely.

Solar energy is the surest way to provide independent, effective and reliable lighting at airports under (still glowing) sunlight, allowing normal night-time operations. Combined with full control and special protection against failure, this makes the S4GA offer a really good, the only solution for most potential users.

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