Finalist 2022

Aerolight

Furst Electrical / Charlwood Design

The Aerolight is an elevated runway edge light that has been designed to provide safer landings.

Aeronautical Ground Lighting for Australia airports. The Aerolight Elevated Runway Edge light is a FailSafe LED, low/medium intensity omnidirectional light. This light is more efficient, brighter, is easier to install and maintain. It has built-in redundancy to improve safety and secure runway uptime. The light is designed and made in Victoria. It meets and exceeds all international airway lighting standards. The light also exceeds competitor products on design and performance.

Design Brief:

The brief required the design of an Australian made light to meet the International and Australian standards for airport lighting. An important aim was to make the light more cost competitive with imported products, whilst enhancing functional performance and aesthetics. Key criteria were:

  • Specific light chromaticity
  • Self-leveling function, irrespective of terrain
  • Long-life in harsh conditions, ideally 20 years
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Frangible mounting for safety
  • Withstand 470 kph Jet blast on take-off. Ideally the design should break the mould of the very agricultural and dated designs of the market leading light products, which have simply been adapted from incandescent lights to LED.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Landing lights are a very controlled item given the high level of safety that is required in the aeronautical market. The starting point is the International and local standards. MOS139 – Manual of Standards for Aerodromes, ICAO Aerodrome Design, FAA AC150/5345-46 or BS3224-4 covering lights. After reviewing the standards and the competitor’s products it was clear there was minimal innovation in the market, and that most products were just meeting the basic requirements.

After identifying areas for improvement, we focused on the LED lighting and reflector design and the easy of installation and maintenance. Reliability and low running costs are important to airport operators. The optics required extensive photometric modelling using ray tracing. The housing design focused on the more traditional ideation, 3D modelling and Finite Element Analysis for frangibility, followed by performance test and certification. Extensive Design for Manufacturing was undertaken to make sure it could be produced cost-efficiently and to a high and enduring quality. The Aerolight exceeded the Design Brief on all critical dimensions.

Design Excellence

The Aerolight’s core function is to illuminate the runway for pilots on approach, take off and when taxiing. Any improvement of the light’s power, accuracy and redundancy is a benefit to the industry and safety of all planes and passengers.

26% Brighter lights – The average intensity of Aerolights is 174cd (compared to 138cd of other leading brands). Being on the upper end of the compliant spectrum (100cd-200cd) the lights are significantly brighter for pilots from the start, making them more visible and safer for the airport. As LED’s gradually lose their brightness over time, they also stay MOS compliant for longer.

At least 60,000 hours Longer lifetime – Laboratory Testing on the white runway light shows that the light will last 121,000 hours at a continuous ambient temperature of 55 degrees. This is more than double any other taxiway light advertised on the Australian market.

Less spares – The clear universal lens means they can be swapped for any light on the airport, so they do not have to worry about keeping spares in multiple colours. Higher visibility Lens – Where plastic lenses become cloudy from UV and result in dull light, Aerolight lenses are made of glass so that the light remains brilliant and will not become non-compliant over time from UV damage.

Improved Airport Revenue and Safety – The proposed runway lights are failsafe. The lights have a system of redundancy built in – so the light continues to operate even if one LED goes out. This means airports can maintain uptime for pilots, maximise landing fee revenue and improve safety for pilots. The light remains MOS Part 139 Compliant for longer. This sets a new standard in taxiway lighting. The project sets a new design and product benchmark in its category.

Design Innovation

The Aerolight not only has better performance through careful optics design, it also has superior reliability and maintenance. Most competitors use a very rudimentary adjustment system for leveling on uneven surfaces, basically 3 bolts pushing on a ¾” gal pipe. These lights are not only hard to adjust but also subject to human error and inaccuracies. We developed a simple but accurate method of rotating a split body to adjust by up to 8 degrees -more than any other light on the market. This is achieved by a Twist-to-Level operation.

The Aerolight has a smooth integrated body which reduces the dirt and vermin ingress. The body is made up of 3 pressure die castings that do not need any significant secondary operations before assembly. The wide body makes for easier installation of electrical connections and is robust and incorporates the frangible element. It also provides heat-sinking of the LED engine. The smooth dome lens is resistant to dust and dirt build-up and hence minimises maintenance.

The lens is made from borosilicate glass – resistant to heat and UV – so it won’t discolour or dim the optical output over time. Until the Aerolight was launched, the customer only had a choice of the ‘old’ industry standard stainless-steel clamp to secure the lens. This is very primitive. We designed a contemporary innovation of a colour coded, silicone O-Grip. The O-Grip is UV stabilized, and with no thread or mechanical parts it will not seize or collect dust and debris. It peels on and off quickly and meets the standard requirement of 470 kph jet blast. Colour coding allows for easy daytime identification (single and dual colour) and the tab provides faster access. The Aerolight has a very clean minimalist overall form, making for a simple professional design.

Design Impact

This is a new venture for the client as they move from installing others’ imported products to design and manufacture their own world-leading aeronautical lights. The Aerolight design not only delivers on performance and innovation but looks starkly different and modern. The Aerolight is 99.2% recyclable. Unlike plastic, Aerolights are made from recycled aluminium, glass and silicone and are almost completely recyclable. The life expectancy of the Aerolight is well in excess of 20 years. The light is a highly efficient LED design and reduces power consumption.

The most dangerous time of a flight is take-off and landing. By designing and making a product that lifts the level of safety for every person flying, we are helping to make us all more secure. Even better, the Aerolight is Victorian designed and manufactured!

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

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