Educating the interest

Posted: 16 June 2006 | Selina Johnson, Manager, Business Development & Training,American Association of Airport Executives | No comments yet

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is the largest professional organisation for airport executives in the world, representing thousands of airport management personnel at public use airports.AAAE’s primary goal is to assist airport executives in fulfilling their responsibilities to the airports and communities they serve.

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is the largest professional organisation for airport executives in the world, representing thousands of airport management personnel at public use airports.AAAE’s primary goal is to assist airport executives in fulfilling their responsibilities to the airports and communities they serve.

AAAE does this through its many training programmes, which include several focused Airport Certified Employee (ACE) programmes for the benefit of personnel at small, medium and large hub airports. These programmes include; The ACE Airfield Lighting and Maintenance Review Course, ACE Operations Review Course, IACE (International Association Of Airport Employees) Operations Course, ACE Security Review Course and ACE Communications.

The ACE programmes provide any AAAE members and non-members the opportunity to obtain a thorough and up to date education in the disciplines mentioned above. The ACE Airfield Lighting and Maintenance Review Course was started after AAAE met with and asked the Airport Training Committee, which comprises of Managers and Directors from member airports around the United States, what their airport needs were when it came to training. Their response was that they needed programmes that certified airport employees, which at the time were not available anywhere in the airport industry. AAAE concurred because we believe that certification not only creates industry recognition but also an industry standard, a tangible way of measuring and validating skills.

According to the FAA, each airport is responsible for maintaining their marking, lighting and signs. This means that they should be clean, unobscured and clearly visible at all times. Any faded, missing or nonfunctional items should be repaired or replaced. Marking, lighting and signs are used by pilots, the tower, airport operations and other personnel, so must be easily seen and need to provide an accurate reference to the user; hence the need to train airfield electricians and personnel so that they are up to date with the upkeep of airfield lighting and equipment.

The AAAE ACE Airfield Lighting Maintenance Review Course is the first comprehensive, professional certification programme for airfield lighting personnel at any airport in the nation. The programme has an extensive curriculum based on FAA, U.S. Military and international recommendations. The course is designed to provide detailed electrical theory and proven maintenance techniques. The AAAE ACE Airfield Lighting Maintenance programme is offered in three different formats: self study, a five day review course with other students from around the nation, or a five day on-site course at an individual airport. The course is delivered through lectures, case studies, and videos. The course materials have been reviewed by the FAA and airfield lighting maintenance personnel at large and small hub airports around the country. The course includes a final exam that must be passed in order to receive certification.

The First ACE Airfield Lighting Maintenance Review Course was held October 11-15, 2004. This first class had 14 electricians and operation/maintenance supervisors from large and small airports across the United States and Guam. The course also included a visit to Ronald Regan Washington National Airport, where the class visited an electrical vault and performed test measures. Today, the ACE Airfield Lighting Maintenance Review Course classes are filled to capacity.

The instructors for the ACE Airfield Lighting Maintenance Review Course are more than qualified to teach this course. David N. Rainey,Vice President, Airfield Systems Development, is a licensed master electrician with over 25 years experience in airfield lighting design, installation, and maintenance. He has accrued extensive experience in the use of field photometric testing for verification of compliance with FAA and ICAO standards, both for new installation acceptance testing and as a tool for preventive maintenance of airfield lighting systems. He is also a member of several organisational affiliations.

Seward Ford has been in the airport lighting industry for 40 years. He is currently President of a company which provides various support and consulting services to the visual aids industry. His activitives includes providing services to Optimus Corporation of Silver Springs MD. Optimus is supporting the efforts of the FAA Surface Technology Assessment Team,AND- 520. The team is currently installing the first all LED, airport lighting series circuit for taxiway edge lights.

He has worked on the upgrading of various FAA Advisory Circulars during the last three years, including AC 150/5345-56 for Airport Lighting Control Systems and AC 150/5345-42 Airport Lighting Bases. He has been a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America since April 1978.

The ACE Airfield Lighting Maintenance course includes the following topics broken down by day and approximate hours for each topic.

DAY 1 (7 hours)

Introduction to the review course (1.5 hour)

  • Why this course?
  • Explanation of course outline
  • History of airport lighting

Guidance material that defines practices (1.5 hour)

  • Terms and definitions
  • Lighting requirements for precision approach categories

Airport lighting series circuit (3 hours)

  • Electrical principals and operational theory
  • Airport lighting and the series circuit
  • Components of the airport lighting series circuit
  • Series circuit test equipment introduction
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Troubleshooting Review (1 hour)

DAY 2 (7.5 hours)

Constant Current Regulators (3 hours)

  • FAA operating parameters
  • Design types and operational theory
  • Control
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Circuit selector switch usage

Series Circuit Transformers (0.5 hour)

  • Standard FAA types
  • Operational theory
  • Cable connector kits and installation

Light sources (1 hour)

  • Characteristics of lamps
  • Incandescent vs. Tungsten-Halogen and the Halogen Cycle
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Airport runway and taxiway fixtures (2 hours)

  • Runway and taxiway lighting
  • Elevated fixture types
  • In-Pavement fixture types
  • Surface Movement Guidance Control (SMGCS) and Runway incursion prevention lighting
  • Land and Hold Short Lighting (LAHSO)
  • Photometric requirements
  • Mounting bases
  • Installation methods
  • Light fixture maintenance and photometric testing Review (1 hour)

DAY 3 (7 hours)

Airfield guidance signs (1.5 hour)

  • FAA Sign Types
  • Sign usage
  • Electrical characteristics
  • Sign maintenance

Miscellaneous visual aids (1 hour)

  • Airport rotating beacon
  • Beacon types
  • Beacon maintenance
  • Lighted wind cones
  • Lighted wind cone maintenance

Approach lighting and visual approach path indicators (1.5 hour)

  • REIL and ODALS
  • FAA Types (Installation Criteria and Maintenance)
  • MALS, MALSF, and MALSR (Installation Criteria and Maintenance)
  • SSALSR, ALSF1, and ALSF2 (Installation Criteria and (Maintenance)
  • VASI, PAPI and PLASI (Installation Criteria and (Maintenance)

Control systems (2 hours)

  • The Evolution of Control Systems
  • System Design for the Conventional Control System (Major Hardware Components)
  • System Design for the Computer Control System (Major Hardware Components)
  • Insulation Resistance Testing (Meggering) as part of the control system
  • Maintaining the computer control system
  • Know your maintenance manual
  • Make sure the manufacturer’s technical people are your good friends Review (1 hour)

DAY 4 (7 hours)

Safety (2 hours)

  • Common causes of accidents
  • Safety procedures and guidelines
  • Lock-Out, Tag-Out procedures
  • Lightning safety
  • Toxic agents
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Electrical hazards of series lighting circuits

Test equipment and measurements (1 hour)

  • Types of test equipment and usage
  • Importance of accurate measurements

Standby Power Systems (1.5 hour)

  • Emergency power sources
  • FAA requirements for CAT II, CAT III
  • Components of the system
  • Maintenance

Maintenance management (1.5 hour)

  • Maintenance philosophy
  • Maintenance schedule and records
  • Preventive maintenance programme
  • Personnel training
  • Spare parts provisioning Review (1 hour)

DAY 5 (7 hours)

Class requested discussion items (2 hours)

Final review (2 hours)

Exam (3 hours)

There are other benefits to becoming an Airport Certified Employee (ACE):

  • Learn from aviation professionals with extensive experience in and knowledge of airfield lighting maintenance,
  • Obtain a thorough airfield lighting maintenance education and use your knowledge to improve the safety and efficiency of your airfield or any airfield in the U.S.,
  • Increase your promotional and career opportunities in the aviation field,
  • Earn a prestigious designation and become a part of an elite group of aviation professionals, and
  • Receive the latest in airport operations information through a Continuing Education Unit (C.E.U.) programme.

At the end of the week long course, the attendees fill out a survey which provides AAAE with valuable feedback. The feedback thus far has been very positive.Attendees have commented that the ‘course would improve their job performance’ and that they enjoyed learning ‘new ways of trouble shooting series circuits’ and being able to meet other attendees in the same trade from different airports, while sharing information.

After passing the final exam at the end of the course, the attendees receive Certification and are able to use the ACE designation after their name for the rest of their career.

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