Queenstown’s new runway lights caught on film
Queenstown Airport’s new runway, taxiway, approach and apron lights have been extensively tested over the past week and can now be seen in full glory in video footage released by Airways New Zealand today.
The $1.65 million airfield lighting project managed by air navigation service provider Airways New Zealand is part of a wider $19.6 million Queenstown Airport runway infrastructure upgrade. The lights were turned on and tested after dark last night for the first time, via a helicopter with Airways’ flight inspectors and specialist testing equipment on board.
The lighting system performed as expected during this testing, and further flight tests and fine-tuning of the lights will occur over the next couple of days as part of Airways’ robust testing and calibration regime. The Airways tests are occurring in preparation for handover of the lighting system to airlines for their own flight tests.
The footage released today begins at dusk and shows the new runway, taxiway, approach and apron lights in use after dark for the first time. During the flight testing last night a helicopter flew at varying altitudes around the airfield, flying aircraft approach and departure paths repeatedly as Airways flight inspectors on board checked the lights.
These flight manoeuvres were closely monitored and managed by air traffic controllers in Airways’ Queenstown control tower.
About 200 lights have been installed or repositioned, including Precision Approach Path Indicator lights (PAPI) lights, and touchdown approach, runway centreline, runway edge and threshold lights. Industry standard LED (light emitting diode) lights have been installed – key benefits being brightness, resiliency, reduced maintenance and power savings.
Both the runway and airfield lighting upgrades were key conditions set by New Zealand’s CAA and Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) when approving the airport’s evening flights safety case in 2014. The runway works, carried out over the past six months in parallel with the lighting upgrade, has involved widening the runway from 30m to 45m and resurfacing it with a 110mm asphalt overlay.