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Kidjudge's Blog

Inspecting Approach Lights

  • April 12, 2018
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On your inspection do you check the Runway Approach lights on every lighting inspection? Does your inspector require this? I have worked at a number of major airports and never had to do this.

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Are you required to check the Approach lights on your inspection
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mcwops, Just curious, you indicate you give them a quick glance during the night inspection, but are these lighting systems annotated on the airports daily/nightly insepction form?  It sounds like they are, but the wording made me ask myself the question.  The absence of multiple responses, from other Ops folks, makes me think there is some head scratching going on...and questions going about this subject.  Grins!.  Be Safe


For larger, more complicated, the ALS it may be more difficult to see, but for our standard MALS and MALSR we can see all of the lights from the runway threshold and tell if they are indeed working or not.  We usually give ours a quick glance during our night inspection, as well as making sure they cycle properly with the PCL.

Kidgjudge,  I did not want to let this thread end without some follow. One thought to keep in mind during any part 139 insepction is the FAA Inspector may not address each and every inspection item required by Part 139/ACM.  If every area (required by part 139) was inspected, reviewed, questions asked and/or tested, every airport inspection would take many more days or in some cases a week or more.  Also, at the beginning of the inspection season FAA Airports headquarters or the regional office may implement "focused" inspections on certain items, based perhaps on an airport operators passed non-compliacne and/or FAA National Aiport initiatives for the inspection year. My experince, over ten years in the Airport Safety & Operations office (reviewing all nine regions airport inspection reoports) and my own airport inspections, I was never aware of a single complete part 139 insepction at any Part 139 certificated airport across the nine regions.  In retrospect, the only "exception" would be an airport operator making there initial application for a Part 139 certificate.  The initial application for a Part 139 certificated would be the "soup to nuts" inspection. Your thoughts?  Be Safe!

Kidjudge, If you refer to139.311, Marking, signs, and lighting (a)(5) Instrument Landing system, the APL is part of this ILS system.  Whether or not other airports are complying or inspecting is no longer in my wheelhouse, but if a certificated airport is not conducting this insepction and reporting discrepancies to the FAA, then IMHO, the airport operator is not providing the full level of safety required by the regulaiton and a full measure of aviation safety to the flying public.  The how to inspect is the responsibility of the airport operator.  Be Safe!

Kidjudge,  Just as a follow up to my previous post, please refer to FAA Order 5280.5D, date 11/07/2016, page 4-23, item #20.  This is what the ACSI is supposed to do regarding approach lightening systems (no owned by the airport operator) and discussing what the airport operator must do relative to the daily insepction of the ALS.  If the inspectors at your other airport were not follwoing through, then this cite should be helpful.  Be Safe!!!

For some reason I can not see ORD MIA JFK or ATL doing this everyday for every runway . There must be a better way to do this. 

How do you throughly inspect the system if most of it is off property and in heavily wooded areas?

KIDjudge, Absolutely, the approach lights, though normally owned by the FAA, are requried to be inspected as part of your daily inspection and you must notify (documented) the FAA of any outages.  This issue has gone back many years, it is part of the airport's lighting, signing and marking requirments under part 139.  Those airports you may have worked at before shoud be notified.  Also, this inspection must be included in the airport's ACM.  How is it possible to operate your airport safely if the approach lighgitng system is not operating as designed?  This is part of operating your airport safely.  Be Safe!

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