FAA’s September 11 Tower Lighting Deadline Looms!


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Effective September 11, 2020, FAA AC 150/5345-43J requires the use of infrared (IR) emitters in obstruction lighting. The original effective date of these technical changes was March 11, 2020; however the FAA issued a six-month extension. In September, only equipment qualified per the new specification will be listed in AC 150/5345-53D, the Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program. 

According to Wade Collins, Director, Business Development for Flash Technology, a lighting solutions provider for the tower industry the changes will add a new twist to visual monitoring and troubleshooting. 

“The IR LEDs are not visible to the naked eye,” Collins said, “however the system must generate a NOTAM worthy alarm if the IRs fail to emit an FAA approved Flash. It is important that maintenance companies are aware of these changes so that FAA compliance is not compromised with the installation of incorrect parts.”

The 43J specification requires three major changes:

  • The use of IR LEDs in all red obstruction lights
  • New performance criteria for IR LED lights
  • Revised beam performance criteria for marker lights (L-810)

Night vision goggles (NVGs) are designed to detect the IR light emitted from heat sources. “LEDs do not radiate heat like incandescent and xenon lights.” Collins said. “In addition, some NVGs are equipped with filters to reduce the adverse effects of cockpit lighting and can make red lights completely invisible. To ensure all obstructions are visible to pilots using NVGs,” he said, “the FAA directed manufacturers to add IR emitters to all red obstruction lights.”  

The new 43J specification is effective for towers filed or re-filed after September 11, 2020. Flash Technology has received all the Certificates of Conformance for 43J on their entire LED product line.  

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