Obstacles Warning Beacons and adverse conditions
Beacons for signaling obstacles are key elements in aviation safety. Lights must warn the pilots of the existence of potential collision hazards as high structures that may interfere the flight path.
Apart from the technical characteristics that light must fulfilled (intensity, color, operating mode, vertical and horizontal angle opening, etc …), the top quality beacons should be built to continue offering protection in adverse weather and environment conditions, with maximum reliability in its operation. On this factors depends the security they provide, which is ultimately the reason they are prescribed.
Some of the main adverse environmental conditions faced by Low Intensity Beacons (ICAO) are the following:
In equipment installed in maritime structures (for example, offshore wind farms) or at seaside, saltpeter and other saline media affect the equipment with rapid corrosion. For metal enclosures beacons it is necessary to use covers including anti-corrosion systems, such as C5-M alto, according to ISO 12944-2.
Some modern beacons use envelopes of technical plastics highly resistant to said salinity, thus avoiding the problem of metallic corrosion.
A long life in the outdoor, supporting the sun’s rays every day, makes the Ultra violet radiation drastically change the color of the beacon’s coverage, even in the transparent coverage of the light heads, making it translucent and yellowish as well as in optics used for concentrating LEDs light. To preserve the beacon degradation, it is necessary that all the components wear the appropriate treatment against UV radiation.
Moisture / Condensation
Differences of temperature, humidity and pressure between the outside and inside of the beacon can create internal condensation, affecting negatively the optical qualities of the light emitted.
To avoid condensation inside the beacons there are several methods, the most effective is the use of special membranes that, working as a valve let the moisture out of the equipment not letting it penetrate inside. In this way, beacon light will be clear and fulfilling all the technical specifications that ensure its safety function.
Extreme heat or cold
From installations in deserts to high mountain locations Obstacles Warning Beacons must operate in a wide range of temperatures. Therefore it is necessary that all its components are resistant to extreme temperatures changes, both in icy or torrid places.
In case of solar, hybrid or electric beacons with built-in batteries it is important to know the operation range of the batteries. If necessary, there are specialized models for very high or low temperatures.
Rain, waves and tightness
Weather conditions can be very harsh, with torrential rains for days or weeks. In case of marine environments the beacons can be reached by the waves and saltpeter. The entry of water or other liquids inside the beacon can short circuit its electronics causing a failure in the equipment and, therefore, a risk situation.
A minimum degree of tightness of IP66 is highly recommended to ensure that the beacon can withstand all kinds of inclement weather without problems.
Fluctuations and cuts in the electrical network
Beacons powered by mains connection can be installed in places where cuts or voltage fluctuations are usual. It is therefore important that the beacons have electrical current stabilizers in order to ensure a equable light intensity. Our IVSOLAR modern beacons models, even incorporate batteries back up to feed the beacon in case of power cut and keep it running until the incident is solved.
In places where power lines issues are frequent, or simply does not exist, solar beacons can be installed, which guarantee an autonomous operation of the beacon, without the need for external power.
The choice of an obstacle beacon offering quality and reliability over the years is a decision that saves maintenance costs and assure that its function is performed even in the most demanding meteorological and environmental conditions.