New airfield approach lighting system increases flight safety for aircraft operators during landing

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
When severe weather passed through Robins in June 2013, it damaged several lights which were part of an approach lighting system on the runway's south end.

Since then a $917,000 replacement project has resulted in a new ALSF-1 approach lighting system. The project, completed by prime contractor MKJV with subcontractor Macon Power performing the electrical work, began April 23 and was completed Sept. 26.

"The approach lighting system is a required visual aid for the instrument landing system at Robins," said 1st Lt. Kayley Squire, Airfield Operations Flight commander. "The project reinstates requirements for the ILS and, more importantly, increases flight safety for aircraft operators during landing.

"Airfield management and civil engineering worked diligently with contractors to ensure the new system is fully compliant, more sustainable, and easier to maintain," she added.

A team at Robins recently conducted a pre-final inspection of the system. However, it's not considered operational until the Federal Aviation Administration approves it. That inspection is scheduled this week. 

If you're down by Hannah Road on your way toward the eastern side of the base, things may look a bit different where the former lighting system used to be.

"In the past we had these trussels that you had to walk on," said Rod Eady, airfield manager. "Now we are able to get up and change any light bulbs without having to go out into the wetlands." 

As a result of the storm that passed through, nine lighting structures were brought down; another ongoing project involved the replacement of the remaining 11. 

While the entire system wasn't damaged, there were still lights available to indicate the location of the runway threshold without the benefit of the system's elevated centerline and sequenced flashing lights, according to Squire. 

All are currently on the same circuitry system, complete with new control boxes.  

The lighting project is just one of many that will lead to a busy year ahead on the Robins flight line. 

The base recently invested more than $8 million in airfield pavement projects which will improve pavement conditions on heavily-used taxiways and aprons. 

Among those is a $130,500 project that will involve the removal of an outdated BAK-9 Aircraft Arresting System, which was installed at Robins during the 1960s. 

The system acts as a safety net for tailhook-equipped aircraft should they need emergency assistance when landing. 

"The system was identified as a redundancy and decommissioned in 2013," said Squire.

As a result, the move will save Robins $500,000 and more than 1,200 man hours in annual maintenance.