The Gove Airport now have a full set of portable solar emergency lights.
Over the past 2 years the Airport’s above ground lighting system has suffered 3 direct lightning strikes.
The first in January 2021 completely destroyed 80% of the runway lighting, most of the cabling and the Pilot Activated Lighting Control system. It took almost 9 months to bring the system back into full operation.
During this time emergency lighting was borrowed and hired from various places to provide night operations predominantly for emergency aero-medical flights.
The second lighting strike in December 2021 took out 77 of the runway edge lights and again, Gove Airport required emergency lights while awaiting the arrival of the replacement globes.
The most recent lightning strike happened just last week and disabled over 50% of the runway lights. This time our portable emergency lights were able to be used.
The availability of emergency lighting means we can keep the airport open for night operations for as long as it takes to fix any permanent lighting system failure. The Avlite solar lights have been placed adjacent to our primary lighting system. With the lights in place and ready to go, this saves up to 3 hours of fitting batteries and placing 153 portable lights into position before the runway can be used again.
Previously, during the use of portable lights, it has been necessary for Airport staff to turn each light off in the early morning and turn them back on prior to dusk each afternoon to save battery life. As you can imagine this takes a substantial amount of time twice daily to get around to each of the lights. The new Avlite system is radio controlled and can be activated from inside the Airport Operations office with the flick of a switch. This saves time and effort while providing a safer airport for all users.
This project received grant funding from the Australian Government through the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.