Control of Airport Lighting

Depending on the airport, taxiway, runway, and approach lighting will either be controllable by the tower, always on, or controllable by the pilots. Often times at airports with a part time tower the lights will be controlled by the tower while it is in operation and then control will be transferred to pilots when the control tower closes.

sns sectional lighting info 1

The *L in the airport information block informs you that there is lighting available at the airport but that it does not activate continuously. More information can be found in the A/FD for the airport.

Generally, pilot controlled lighting is illuminated by keying the aircraft microphone a set number of times within 5 seconds while tuned to the correct frequency. This may the CTAF for the airport, or another frequency listed in the chart supplement and other pertinent charts. 7 quick clicks of the mic will activate all lighting at the airport.

sns snip 1

When the tower is closed, listed lighting can be activated on the CTAF

Airports with pilot controlled lighting that are equipped with high intensity runway and approach lights often have intensity controls available to the pilot. In this case, 7 clicks of the mic will activate all lighting at maximum intensity, 5 additional clicks will dim the lights to medium intensity (for high intensity lights) or low intensity while also turning off the runway end identifier lights (REILs) (for medium intensity lights). An additional 3 clicks will dim high intensity lights to their lowest setting and turn off runway end identifier lights (REILs).


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