Vehicle identification

Airside movements are carefully choreographed and designed to avoid extremely expensive pieces of equipment being damaged. Andy Martin learns that AirEL Airport Illuminated Identification has designed a practical means of spotting vehicles at night, and recognised an opportunity to improve safety.

SAFETY

As night falls, airfield become large black holes punctuated by flashing lights. Identifying individual vehicles can become almost impossible even when ground movement radar is available.
(BravoNovember / AviationImageNetwork)
Alphanumeric placards attached to vehicles can help identification and avoid misdirected communications. They are a significant step to improving safety in airside areas of airports.
(AirEl Airport Illuminated Identification except where stated)

An Operations Department car on taxiway Lima, at the holding point for runways 20L and 20R, waiting to cross to the other side of the airfield. Its flashing orange light is quite clear to the tower controller, but what vehicle is it? What is its radio callsign? There is another car further down the runway, waiting to make a similar manoeuvre. The risk of safety being compromised by misidentifying vehicles is significant, and the cost of repairing damage if collisions occur, can be immense.

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