Thanks to team, pilots' 'third eye' stays vigilant

Crew at Tianjin's Binhai airport inspects thousands of lights daily to ensure planes taxi, land safely

China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-01 08:58
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Maintenance workers repair approach lights at the end of the 34R Runway on March 16. TAO RAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

In the heart of Tianjin, the bustling Binhai airport stands as a beacon of modernity and connectivity. As night descends, a mesmerizing display of over 13,000 navigation lights illuminates the airfield, transforming it into a "galaxy".

These are not merely decorative lights; they are vital navigation aids, often referred to as the pilots' "third eye". Ensuring these "third eyes" remain bright is the responsibility of a dedicated team known as the Tianjin Binhai International Airport Navigational Light Maintenance Unit, which consists of more than 30 skilled members.

At 4 am, the members of the maintenance unit emerge onto the tarmac, ready to conduct their preflight inspection of the lighting equipment. The airport's lighting system encompasses approach lights, slope lights, runway and taxiway navigational lights, and taxiway guidance signs. Each light emits distinct colors that provide crucial navigation information, helping pilots land and taxi safely in low visibility or nighttime conditions.

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