AVSIG: Strobing Runway Lights wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Russell Holton]
      #446012 - 12/19/17 09:48 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I'll blame the turkeys who designed and installed lights that are not fit for the intended use,



Please define "intended use". More to the point, can you find any specification that lists a requirement to have IR emitters? Because that's where an engineer is going to start.


Quote:

A reasonable engineer would have foreseen the shortcomings,



And how would an "reasonable engineer" know that? Again, where is the specs for nav lights that indicate that?


Quote:

don't blame the nvg makers who designed the equipment when there were no LEDs.



Which raises a question - did the nvg makers ever claim you could see nav lights? Or was that discovery made somewhere else (sales or user) and somehow turned into a practice that was unsupported by official documentation?


Quote:

"Oh well" won't play well to the jury....



Hmmmmm. A nvg that's completely blind to something that someone not wearing them could see. Seems like the "reasonable" test belongs somewhere else. Sure, you could make all the nav lights have IR, but what else (non-nav lighted objects) could be out there that wouldn't have a IR emitter yet are perfectly visible to the naked eye? And whose bright idea was it to fly with this blindfold that ignores visible light?




I think you've got your ivory tower engineer glasses on, Russell.

Engineers aren't limited to just blindly following specs, or at least companies that design equipment for an intended purpose shouldn't exclusively rely on such cramped engineering. Using a bit of brain power, and consultation with users (i.e., helicopter pilots who work down low a considerable amount of their flight hours, often in the dark and often with NVGs), should have rendered a better result. Fundamentally, that's an engineering problem as well as a management of engineers problem.

The intended use is warning pilots of low altitude aircraft of obstructions. If a significant percentage of the user community finds them invisible during nighttime hours, they don't pass muster and are inherently defective.

Yes, shame on FAA for not having a better informed approval process in place. But, after all, we don't need big government and industry can do just fine on its own....and when it doesn't it can pay the piper with liability awards.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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Nancy Zeitlin [HPN]
AVSIG Member


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 2728
Loc: KHPN
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #446028 - 12/20/17 11:47 AM

There may have been some Ivory Tower glasses on, but to me, it sure looks like the NVG designers were wearing them. NVGs that are insensitive to visible light? Useful in tactical situations, perhaps, but a general purpose night vision aid that ignores any part of the visible spectrum just doesn’t cut it in MY book.

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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Nancy Zeitlin [HPN]]
      #446034 - 12/20/17 04:07 PM

Quote:

There may have been some Ivory Tower glasses on, but to me, it sure looks like the NVG designers were wearing them. NVGs that are insensitive to visible light? Useful in tactical situations, perhaps, but a general purpose night vision aid that ignores any part of the visible spectrum just doesn’t cut it in MY book.




Hi Nancy - The idea was likely that being insensitive to light would prevent them from being overwhelmed with artificial light sources. And, hey, what came first, the NVGs or the LEDs? Seems like a reasonable lighting developer for aviation applications would have asked the question, "how do these play with NVGs that are routinely used by helicopter pilots?" But it seems that question might not have been asked. A shame, it is.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]
Top Gun


Reged: 09/13/01
Posts: 5059
Loc: Minnesota
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #446035 - 12/20/17 04:24 PM

Quote:

Seems like a reasonable lighting developer for aviation applications would have asked the question, "how do these play with NVGs that are routinely used by helicopter pilots?" But it seems that question might not have been asked. A shame, it is.




Technology marches on. I did a quick Google search to see if anyone had created or is selling Night Vision Goggles that can see LED lights, but My Google-Fu is weak. I did find this 2009 warning from the FAA: http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/200...s-says-faa.html


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #446036 - 12/20/17 04:28 PM

Quote:

I think you've got your ivory tower engineer glasses on, Russell.



I don't think so. I think it's more procedural/legal than anything.

Again, I ask who made the decision for allowing the use of nvg in that environment without any assurance that the lights would always be visible to nvg? That sounds to me like the first link in a accident chain.

The whole point of specs is so it will work in away that people have come to rely on.


Quote:

Engineers aren't limited to just blindly following specs, or at least companies that design equipment for an intended purpose shouldn't exclusively rely on such cramped engineering.



There's that word "should". I think an opposing attorney would tear that apart. I find it hard to believe the courts would hold someone responsible for something that isn't written down in a contract or specifications. I'm not sure as this falls into the area of "reasonably foreseen".

Let me ask - what is the point of nvg and why are they being used in this situation? For the military, it's part of stealth. For for civilians?


Quote:

Using a bit of brain power, and consultation with users (i.e., helicopter pilots who work down low a considerable amount of their flight hours, often in the dark and often with NVGs),



I had a interesting conversation over a company dinner last night. This person had connection with aviation. (I forget the details other than they got to see the future.) When I brought up this subject, she indicate that for the wind turbines on the North Shore, the community didn't want them lit at night. The military said to add IR reflective tape the entire length and call it good. They didn't even want any IR lights as they said it would just blind them.

So, there you go. Another user who wanted it differently.


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]]
      #446037 - 12/20/17 04:37 PM

Quote:

I did find this 2009 warning from the FAA: http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/200...s-says-faa.html




Seems like the FAA is putting the onus on the users of nvg, not the lighting that follows their specifications.

At this point, I think I could turn things around and point fingers at the nvg makers. There may be a reason to exclude some visible lights, but to exclude the bulk of "aviation red" spectrum for a product intended to be used by pilots?? That sounds like a bigger "fitness of use" issue.


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Russell Holton]
      #446038 - 12/20/17 05:29 PM

Russell - Ah, there's more to liability than just what's in the contract....it's the common law concept of negligence which is built entirely on "what should a reasonable person" have done. And, the fitness for a particular purpose is the touchstone of a warranty claim, separate and apart from whatever the alleged specs may be. While an engineer may think he understands both the aviation application and the law, having not much experience in either should drive him to consulting with the expert users and not relying on specs that were written for and applied to incandescence.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Russell Holton]
      #446040 - 12/20/17 05:33 PM

The fact that the problem was identified in 2008 by the Canadians, and subject to an FAA publication of warning in 2009, with the LEDs still being installed and not upgraded to ameliorate the problem....well, that's a problem. And, as before, what came first, the NVGs (which, according to the FAA approval of them, set the operational environment), or the LEDs (that weren't designed to provide visibility through equipment used widely by helicopter pilots)?

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #446042 - 12/20/17 05:40 PM

Scott, along this line is programming product "undocumented features". Many
times customers would find some neat way to accomplish a task using something
not listed as a feature in the programming product. Then we would come out
with an update, featuring new functions and correcting bugs. Sometimes this
would kill some of the "undocumented features" some customers were using.

Out first reaction might be, Tough bananas! But they were paying customers,
so, with very few exceptions, we soon (!) came out with an update that
allowed those features to again be performed (and documented them).


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Strobing Runway Lights [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #446044 - 12/20/17 06:28 PM

Quote:

The fact that the problem was identified in 2008 by the Canadians, and subject to an FAA publication of warning in 2009, with the LEDs still being installed and not upgraded to ameliorate the problem....well, that's a problem.



But who's problem? From the language in the documents, it appears to be the pilot's.


Quote:

And, as before, what came first, the NVGs (which, according to the FAA approval of them, set the operational environment), or the LEDs (that weren't designed to provide visibility through equipment used widely by helicopter pilots)?



To use Ward's terminology, the nav lights came first and the NVG's made use of an undocumented feature. However, in this case, the Golden Rule (he who has the gold makes the rules) is likely to play out differently.


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