Flight Redemptions

What is FALS in Aviation? (Full Approach Lighting System)

Updated: February 24, 2024

Understanding the Full Approach Lighting System (FALS)

The aviation industry relies on various systems and technologies to ensure safe and efficient operations. One such system is the Full Approach Lighting System (FALS), which plays a crucial role in guiding aircraft during their final approach to the runway. In this article, we will explore the key features and benefits of the FALS, its components, and its significance in aviation.

The Importance of Full Approach Lighting System (FALS)

The Full Approach Lighting System (FALS) is an integral part of an airport's infrastructure, contributing to the overall safety and precision of aircraft landings. It serves as a visual aid for pilots, enhancing their situational awareness and facilitating a smooth descent onto the runway.

One of the primary purposes of the FALS is to provide pilots with a clear and unobstructed view of the runway environment during the final approach. By illuminating the runway and its surroundings, the system helps pilots accurately judge their altitude, distance, and alignment with the runway. This is particularly crucial during low-visibility conditions, such as fog or heavy rain, where pilots heavily rely on visual cues to guide their landing.

The FALS also assists in reducing the risk of runway incursions and deviations from the correct glide path. With a well-designed lighting system, pilots can easily distinguish between the approach and runway lights, ensuring they maintain the correct trajectory. The system's consistency and reliability allow pilots to make informed decisions and adjustments during the landing phase, promoting safe and precise landings.

The Components of Full Approach Lighting System (FALS)

The Full Approach Lighting System (FALS) consists of several components strategically positioned along the approach path to the runway. Each component serves a specific purpose in providing visual guidance to pilots, ensuring a smooth and accurate landing. Let's take a closer look at the key components of the FALS:

1. Approach Lighting System (ALS)

The Approach Lighting System (ALS) is the initial component of the FALS, located at the beginning of the approach path. It consists of a series of lights arranged in a specific configuration to provide pilots with a visual reference point for their descent. The ALS typically includes a combination of steady and flashing lights, designed to create a recognizable pattern that guides the pilot towards the runway threshold.

2. Sequenced Flashing Lights (SFL)

As the aircraft approaches closer to the runway, it encounters the Sequenced Flashing Lights (SFL). These lights are usually installed in a row perpendicular to the runway centerline and are activated sequentially to create a sense of motion. The SFL helps pilots judge their distance from the runway and provides a smooth transition from the ALS to the next phase of the approach.

3. Touchdown Zone Lights (TDZL)

Located at the beginning of the runway, the Touchdown Zone Lights (TDZL) are a vital component of the FALS. They consist of a row of lights that extend across the width of the runway, providing pilots with a visual reference point for the touchdown zone. The TDZL helps pilots accurately align their aircraft with the runway and adjust their descent rate accordingly.

4. Runway Centerline Lighting System (RCLS)

The Runway Centerline Lighting System (RCLS) is a series of lights installed along the centerline of the runway. It assists pilots in maintaining alignment with the runway centerline during the final approach and touchdown. The RCLS provides pilots with a clear visual indication of their lateral position and helps prevent runway excursions.

5. Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL)

The Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL) are a pair of synchronized flashing lights located at the runway threshold. They help pilots identify the beginning of the runway, especially during low-visibility conditions. The REIL provides an additional visual cue to ensure pilots are aware of the runway's location and alignment.

Overall, the Full Approach Lighting System (FALS) combines these components to create a comprehensive visual guidance system for pilots during the final approach. The positioning and configuration of these lights are designed to optimize safety and improve the overall efficiency of aircraft landings.


The Full Approach Lighting System (FALS) is a critical component of aviation infrastructure, ensuring safe and precise landings for aircraft. By providing pilots with clear visual cues and reference points, the FALS enhances situational awareness and minimizes the risk of runway incursions or deviations from the correct glide path. Understanding the various components of the FALS, such as the Approach Lighting System (ALS), Sequenced Flashing Lights (SFL), Touchdown Zone Lights (TDZL), Runway Centerline Lighting System (RCLS), and Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL), is essential for pilots and air traffic controllers alike. Through the effective implementation of the FALS, airports can continue to improve safety standards and enhance the overall efficiency of their operations.

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