Runway Lights

Runway lights provide a perfect outline of the runway that allows the pilot to see it at night and safely land the plane. In major airports, they are controlled by air traffic controllers.  Intensities can be low, medium, or high to allow for day and night lighting and to adjust for different visibility conditions related to the weather. 


There are many different types of runway lights.  Each plays a vital role in helping the pilot locate the exact location of the runway and know exactly where to touch the plane down.  In any given airport, one is likely to find any of the following types of runway lighting in usage:


LED red medium intensity flashing beacon

Elevated Light

Rollover Light

Elevated Light

Heliport Light

Obstruction Lights

Helideck Semiflush





Approach Lights

This is a system of runway lights that is composed of strobe lights and light bars that signal to the pilot where the beginning of the runway is and where approach needs to commence.  It is most commonly referred to as an ALS, or approach lighting system.  These systems are used mostly in airports with instrument approach procedures to line up the aircraft with the runway. 


These lights are crucial to the safe landing of planes due to the way that angle of descent and the speed of the plane will distort the perspective of the runway and its true distance from the plane.  The ALS, with its white bars and flashing strobe lights, provides clearly differentiated visible cues that allow the pilot to line up the plane for landing. 


Centerline Lights

Centerline lights are inset, or recessed as some people call it, fixtures that are embedded into the surface of the runway at 50 ft intervals.  These lights run the centerline of the tarmac for precision instrument approach runways.  Up until the last 3,000 feet of tarmac, centerline runway lights are white.  They then alternate between white and red for another 2,000 ft before finally turning red for the last 1,000 ft.


Runway Edge lights

The length of the runway is bordered by white elevated lights on both sides.  In airports that rely upon instrument approach procedures, the last 2,000 feet of the runway is indicated by amber edge lights. 


Touchdown Zone Lights

These runway lights create rows of white bars on both sides of the centerline to show where the wheels of the plane need to touch down. 


Runway End Identification Lights

There are two types of these lights.  Unidirectional lights face the direction of approach.  Omnidirectional pairs consist of synchronized flashing lights that flash on either side of the runway threshold.  These lights assist the pilot in isolating the runway when it is surrounded by all other sorts of airport lighting and city lights.   They also help isolate the runway from surrounding terrain and make it more visible in bad weather.


There are four of these lights on both ends of the runway.  They extend for the full width of the runway and appear green to approaching aircraft.  They look red from the runway itself.  Lights at the end of the runway are red to a departing aircraft and green at the beginning to signify the threshold of landing for approaching aircraft. 


Taxiway Lights

These runway lights are used to differentiate between adjoining taxiways the runway itself.  Lighting types include taxiway centerline lead-off lights, taxiway centerline lead-on lights, and land and hold short lights. 


RLLD Commercial Lighting is now providing a growing number of LED and Solar Powered models of these runway lights that are that are self-maintaining, energy efficient, and more reliable than traditional transformer-based lighting fixtures.



RLLD Commercial Lighting carries a wide variety of industrial & commercial lighting fixtures. If you can not find what you are looking for call us toll free at 1-866-654-3961 and we will find it for you. Our home office is located in Houston, Texas with warehouses located throughout the United States that enable us to service all 50 states including Sault Ste Marie, MI (CIU), Cleveland, OH, (CLE), College Station, TX (CLL), Port Angeles, WA (CLM), Charlotte, NC (CLT), Columbus, OH (CMH), Champaign, IL (CMI), Hancock, MI (CMX), Cody, WY (COD) and Colorado Springs, CO (COS).

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