ADLS Aircraft Detection Lighting Systems
Wind energy is currently the most economical large-scale renewable energy source available.
Therefore in the coming years we will witness a strong increase in the number of wind farms worldwide.
On the other hand, the technical advances in blades and masts allow the construction of higher and bigger structures, which offer a greater potential for power generation. But this larger size of wind turbines makes them enter into the airspace increasing the danger for aircrafts flights. That’s why is required higher intensity signaling which produces nocturnal discomfort and complaints from populations near wind fields which demands “dark skies” preservation.
Aware of this situation, several types of solution have been tested trying to minimize the impact of the wind turbine’s nighttime light signals. One of the most promising solution is the implementation of a aircraft radar detection, known by the acronym in English ADLS (Aircraft Detection Lighting System).
What do ADLS consist of?
It is a solution based on the radar detecting an aircraft approaching to windfarms:
Turbines and towers remain most of the time with safety lighting OFF.
But when the radar system detects a plane approaching the area, it will automatically start the wind turbines lights, which are turned ON warning and then warning the aircraft pilots about their position so they take into account said obstacle and avoid a possible collision.
The current systems have a coverage of 360º covering a space of up to 2,400Km2, and aircraft can be detected up to 26km away.
As soon as the aircraft moves away from the obstacles, lights go OFF again and darkness returns to the place.
Having this type of solution it has been calculated that the sky can could remain “dark”, as neighbors claim, up to 96-98% of the time compared to the current situation. This solution can result in a better nocturnal rest and the preservation of environment with a drastic reduction of light pollution, while preserving the aircraft security when flying over those enclaves whether “On Shore” or “Off Shore”.
There are ADLS systems that are already certified by the United States FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), DFS (Deutsche Flug Sicherung) de Alemania or TBST (Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority)
Other countries are in the process of approval, such as Sweden and Finland, but there is still no common regulation in Europe issued by the highest European air safety agency (EASA).
In any case, we are bound to harmonize technological growth and the orientation to obtain large-scale energy from renewable sources with the preservation of natural spaces and air and maritime safety.