Providing airports with safety assurance support for the introduction of Pilot-Controlled Lighting systems

Pilot-Controlled Lighting (PCL) systems are common at airports where unscheduled air operations occur outside Air Traffic Control (ATC) hours or, at airfields without ATC.

All PCL systems operate in a similar manner. The pilot ‘keys’ a designated frequency when approaching the airfield, seven times within five seconds.  This activates the Aeronautical Ground Lighting (AGL) system, which stays on for a set duration to allow the aircraft to land. Some PCL systems allow pilots to adjust the lighting intensity, for example, three clicks for low intensity, five clicks for medium intensity and seven clicks for high intensity.

PCL systems are popular because principally, they save money while still providing a lighting capability without manning ATC. Aerodromes do not need to provide 24/7 ATC and the AGL can be turned off during periods with no aircraft movement. The creation of a robust safety argument allows the use of PCL under specific situations.

Osprey has experience in the delivery of safety assurance to support PCL introduction and use. Working with equipment suppliers, ATC staff and pilots, we can develop the Safety Argument for a PCL upgrade to an existing AGL Control System. This process follows an in-house tried and tested approach that fully aligns with the Safety Management System in use. 

Facilitating a Hazard Identification (HazID) event, Osprey will identify the hazards associated with the proposed implementation of PCL and the potential mitigations and controls that manage the risk posed to a tolerable level.  Osprey can then develop a Safety Assessment which presents the safety argument, linking required evidence to the safety claims of the PCL use case.  The Safety Assessment can be produced as an addendum to the extant AGL Control System Safety Case for submission to the regulator. 

Should it be required, Osprey can also project manage the delivery of the PCL capability, working closely with the chosen AGL supplier to deliver a turnkey capability. 

To find out more, please contact our ATM Systems Team to discuss how we can support your PCL project: [email protected]

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