Friday, January 06, 2012

Hardy-Anders Field Natchez-Adams County Airport (KHEZ) gets new lights. Natchez, Mississippi.

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams County Airport doesn’t look that different, but a new lighting system is blazing the airport into the future.

The airport was on the receiving end of a $120,000 Federal Aviation Administration project to replace the lighting in its taxiway guidance signs.

“These signs are so that the pilots know where they are on the airport — they tell you what taxiway you are on, what direction you can go to find runways, if you are going to cross a runway,” Airport Manager Clint Pomeroy said. “They inform the pilot they are on the right path to get to the runway they are looking for.”

The quartz lighting system that was previously in place had been in use for approximately 20 years, and was starting to show signs of age.

Rather than replacing every part of the signs, Pomeroy said the sign bodies were still usable, so the airport only replaced the insides with an LED lighting system.

“LED uses a lot less electricity,” he said. “When you turn these lights on you can reach down and hold these light bulbs because they don’t get hot, but the light is very nice and bright.”

The new LED system is noteworthy for two reasons.

The first is that it isn’t in widespread use yet.

“This LED system was just approved by the FAA for use, so we are one of the early airports to use it,” Pomeroy said.

The second reason is that the system is more energy efficient. Pomeroy said the new system could improve energy efficiency by 20 percent.

“I hope I can see just a little bit less in our electricity bill,” he said.

Ninety-five percent of the funding for the project came from the FAA. The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division and the airport evenly split the remaining five percent.

The FAA money comes from the FAA trust fund, which is funded by taxes and fees associated with flying.

“(The money) comes back from the users, which is a good way to pay,” Pomeroy said.

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