Modelling Aeronautical Lighting: Tall Building Developments
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Modelling Aeronautical Lighting for Tall Buildings

Modelling Aeronautical Lighting for Tall Buildings
May 17, 2017 Mike Watson


Pager Power often advises developers about the aeronautical lighting requirement for their tall buildings which typically arises from a nearby airport or heliport. There are many types of light and a number of triggers of lighting requirement. The rules and requirements are not as straightforward as one might expect.

Lighting Requirement

There are two situations that will almost certainly mean lighting is required. These are:

  1. A building is more than 150 metres tall above ground level.
  2. The building penetrates one of the Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) surrounding an airport or heliport.

In the United Kingdom aeronautical lights on tall buildings usually have the following characteristics:

  • Colour: Red
  • Illumination: Constant rather than flashing
  • Intensity: 200 Candela (Low) or 2000 Candela (Medium)


Determining lighting intensity and locations of lights is typically influenced by the following factors:

  • Whether the building is over 150 metres tall
  • What aeronautical lights are fitted to other buildings in the vicinity
  • What lighting has been requested by operators of local airports and heliports
  • What impact any aeronautical lights will have on the amenity of neighbouring properties
  • What other lights are expected to illuminate the building at night

Modelling Illumination Effects

Windows in a residential building or hotel are more likely to be lit at night than windows in a commercial building. Pager Power has built a statistical model to illustrate the illumination effects of a large residential development. The lighting pattern is random and depends on the likelihood of a window being lit as well as the number of windows that can be lit. Results from the model can be used to help aeronautical stakeholders to visualise and assess the positive safety impact of the building’s night time illumination.


The image below shows a simulation of a 3 tower development with a 7% probability of each window being lit.

aeronautical lightingSimulation of a three tower development.

Further Information

Please contact Mike Watson on 01787 319001 to discuss requirements for lighting your tall building development.


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