|Story & Photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Improved runway lighting and signage will make it easier and safer for
aircraft taking off and landing at the joint-use Sparta-Fort McCoy
Airport. A new fence project also improves perimeter security and
provides protection against wildlife encounters with the aircraft.
Tim Goettl of the Pieper Power
Company of Milwaukee finishes installing a pulsating light
approach equipment slope indicator at the Sparta-Fort McCoy
James Hubbard, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and
Security (DPTMS) Air Traffic Control Tower chief, said the Pieper Power
Company of Milwaukee completed the lighting project.
The replacement lighting upgrades the system from incandescent to quartz
lighting. “The quartz lights are brighter and will better support pilots’
vision and capability to land,” Hubbard said.
Another feature of the upgraded lighting system is the pulsating light
approach slope indicator equipment, he said.
“The lights will flash red or white, which will tell pilots if their
approach height or glide path is too high or too low,” he said.
Randy Willer, DPTMS Airport manager, said the new lighting system also
includes a concrete-type mound enclosure, which makes the system easier
Access to the lighting system to make repairs can be gained by removing
the top of the structure. The previous lighting regulators were buried
in the ground, which meant the lighting regulators had to be dug up to
make repairs and could lead to further damage of the system.
“The new lighting system also includes a new backup generator and the
capability to expand the system, which would support future military and
civilian uses and missions,” Willer said. “Pilots use their radios to
turn on the new lighting system. The lighting automatically shuts off 15
minutes after an aircraft lands.”
These features will help save energy and costs, as well, he said.
A new, lighted signage system also was installed, Willer said. Military
and civilian pilots use the same runway to land and take off, so the
signage helps pilots better differentiate between the military and
civilian operations portion, of the joint-use airport.
Hubbard said the new signage also includes distance signs, which help
pilots gauge where they are at on the runway/taxiways.
These improvements will better support night landings and take offs, and
make them safer, for both military and civilian aircraft, thus expanding
the airport’s operational capabilities, Willer said.
A separate project included the installation of a new security fence
around the airport, which also will help keep wildlife, including deer,
away from the runway, taxi and operations areas, he said.
This will improve safety, Willer said.
Fort McCoy budget funds paid for the lighting and signage project. The
fence was paid for with a combination of city, state and Federal
Aviation Administration funds.