Airports are pleased to announce the first installation of the ZA280 LED Stop Bar at Newcastle International Airport.

LED technology has many advantages in this application, which provides a visual barrier between a live runway and the taxiways that support them, and is probably one of the most critical roles for airfield ground lighting.

For a busy airport, such as Newcastle International Airport, the operating status will demand that the stop bar should be active for most of the time and only be relaxed for a short period while aircraft continue their manoeuvres under instruction from air traffic control onto the runway.

This punishing cycle can reduce ordinary tungsten halogen lamp life to a few months especially in CAT III conditions. For the maintenance staff this can be an tiresome burden as, under CAP rules, no more than two stop bar lights are allowed to be non-operational.

The ZA280 LED Stop Bar solves this potential headache for both maintenance and operational staff, as the rated life of the 3w high-brightness LED is in excess of 30,000 hours. At the most demanding cycle of 14 hours a day, the ZA280 LED could provide almost six years of maintenance-free and reliable service.

The new LED technology has different electrical characteristics to the incumbent technology and therefore additional interfacing electronics are required to match the dimming performance of the existing AGL circuit.

ALSTOM has developed a robust, remote, stand-alone encapsulated electronic device, the ZL836, which is located between the ZA280 LED fixture and the AGL isolating transformer. The ZL836 also features a field switch options that can be enabled or inhibited by a separate 48V DC supply and thus can be used as an interlocking control circuit for the stop bar and taxiway centre line lead-on lights.

As there is minimal heat in the generation of light from the LED’s the on / off response of the ZA280LED stop bar is much faster than its tungsten halogen equivalent and, as the colour is more saturated, it provides a faster and more precise signal to the pilot.

Given the advantages of the ZA280 LED Stop Bar, Newcastle International Airport can look forward to many years of improved operation with minimal maintenance in this application.

The introduction of solid-state lighting, such as LEDs and electronic devices, could enable more advanced solutions in AGL technology and could bring the lighting and control functions together within the same products in the future.