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Pilot-controlled lighting in Europe!

PCL is very common in Scandinavia, especially Denmark. One caveat is that you normally have to call for PPR in advance during airport office hours, so that the system will be activated the night you land. You will also have to consider how to get in and out of the airport when there is nobody there, so the utility for visitors is a little limited.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

None in the UK. Are there any in Germany?

No, not really, but that's more because in Germany, landing and departing is not allowed without an A/G operator on the ground, so there really is no point in PCL. However, I know of of least one airfield in Germany that does have PCL (because, occasionally the operator himself wants to turn home late...:-))

But as mentioned, France has a lot of PCL, and some other places in Europe do as well.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

@Boscomantico, I wonder if when SERA comes in it will do away with Germany's requirement to have an A/G at all times. I know of 1 nicely equipped airfield with PCL, that is currently disabled due to the above requirement.

There is currently a fight on at our field to allow us to use a grass strip between the publish closure time up until SS without A/G but it has turned into a very long draw out process that I think has not moved anywhere in the last 18 months. But I know that some of the optimistic members (well at least 1 + maybe me) will petition for PCL if the A/G is lifted.

Some of my favorite PCL airports/aerodromes in France are Lyon-Bron (Kyriad hotel at 200 meters from the GA parking) and Reims-Prunay (you can park your plane right in front of the hotel at the aerodrome. If you ask, they will give you a key code to get into the hotel at night and leave the hotel room keys in the doors of the rooms. This way you can even arrive at 3 at night.

EHRD, Netherlands

I was under the impression that that CAA wouldn't allow PCL at licensed airfields (and may still do). Apparently (and this is pure rumor ) the one employee that prevented it has now retired. This then became the show stopper as you had to be a licensed airfield to offer flight training.

This has of course now changed and I have heard that there are one or two airfields that now have PCL. Either radio or sms operated. I also think its only a matter of time before further airfields offer this service. Certainly in my neck of the woods the is a dearth of airfields that one can use and night and none of them could be remotely described as cheap or GA friendly.

I think this is a stupid question but how do you use PCL at say Reims.

Looking at the AIP it states PCL available, but no other info, except a paragraph stating NVFR available.

The Radio information says AFIS during hours, but A/A FR Only out of hours. Does this mean that you need French Level 4 to go there, or can you arrive speaking with Reims APP at 03:00?

I have never used PCL in my life, always been lucky to have airfield open just long enough to do a bit of night stuff.

I was under the impression that that CAA wouldn't allow PCL at licensed airfields (and may still do).

That is stil the case. A licensed airport is not allowed to control runway lights from outside its perimeter.

I reckon that having PCL which works only from the overhead would get around that but all that would happen is that the CAA would refuse the renew the airport's license next time round...

Apparently (and this is pure rumor ) the one employee that prevented it has now retired

I hope somebody better informed drops in, but AIUI that employee was pushing a particular interpretation of the radio usage regs which was that they could be used for voice but not for switching lights. This interpretation prevented PCL being done officially anywhere in the UK.

That position may now be dead, but it still leaves unlicensed airports as the only place you could have PCL.

An unlicensed airport can do flight training but it cannot have AOC flights (charter and upwards, I believe). AOC flights can be worth a lot of money, so this is for the airport to weigh up. The extra income from AOC stuff versus the extra income from after-hours ops........

Add in the usual few piss-takers who land after-hours and don't pay the landing fees. GA always seems to have a few of those, who ruin the fun for everybody else - why did Shoreham pull its after-hours concession do you think?

No prize for guessing which way I think the average UK airport is going to sway on that one.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Add in the usual few piss-takers who land after-hours and don't pay the landing fees. GA always seems to have a few of those, who ruin the fun for everybody else - why did Shoreham pull its after-hours concession do you think?

No prize for guessing which way I think the average UK airport is going to sway on that one.

What about an IR (As in InfraRed - calm down :D) camera or night vision camera on/near the RWY aimed at right angles so that the Reg of a standard GA aircraft is visible as it passes on the final flare. That way at night it would be captured, I think... may need to test against the luminosity at those freqs of the aircraft lighting... but that would record the reg of the aircraft landing.

The cost should be recovered quickly, as a movement controlled camera set up would be fairly cheap. This would also mean only time when an aircraft was in front of the camera it would record, so only 10 minutes of video to check in the morning.

For the "cheeky buggers" who are thinking, bonus land long and miss the camera, simply add a few more until the OSIAGTTH point on the RWY...

P.S. OSIAGTTH - Oh $h1t I am going through the hedge point - :D

how do you use PCL at say Reims.

I'm also interested in this - would be perfect night-stop for my return journey from Budapest to UK with my Mum later in the year, and having the pressure off for late arrive would make for a more relaxed day!

Yeah baby!
EGTB
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