Author Topic: Runway lights go dark at Southwest Florida Regional Airport  (Read 2266 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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Audio of the time line posted in the Audio Clip Section

There is only one runway at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. When on the rare occurrence there is a power outage and the runway lights go off like they did on the evening of June 3, it could mean flights have to be diverted until the lights come back on.

Two flights ended up being diverted to Tampa on June 3, according to Victoria Moreland, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer for the Lee County Port Authority — American Airlines Flight No. 801 and Alaska Airlines Flight No. 1491.Moreland said in an email that tree debris from the tropical system that affected Southwest Florida earlier this month was the cause of the outage.
"(The debris) was impacting an FPL (Florida Power & Light) line that feeds the north side of the airport to include the north side tenants, roadway lighting on Chamberlain and the runway lights," Moreland said.

Moreland said it is not common for the runway lights to go out, but it is  not unprecedented. She said it has been documented as happening once in the mid-1990s and another time in December 2014.

What are the protocols that kick in when something like this happens?

"Airfield Maintenance responds for troubleshooting, diagnoses the issue and implements a solution to restore power as quickly as possible," Moreland said. "(The airport) also works with FPL to resolve the issue."

Here is a timeline Moreland provided:

9:35 p.m. — All runway lights were lost

10:26 p.m. — Airfield maintenance restored runway edge lights on temporary power.

10:34 p.m. —  Airfield maintenance restored runway centerline lights on temporary power.

11:00 p.m. — First aircraft landed.

Moreland said a generator was used to provide temporary power until the main line could be repaired.

Full FPL power was restored sometime just prior to or around midnight to all north side panels, Moreland said.

RSW averages about 375 daily flights during season and 200 daily during the off-season with 16 airlines flying to 61 destinations.

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Heather Merrick, who was flying from Seattle to Fort Myers on Alaska Airlines Flight No. 1491 on June 3, contacted The News-Press and Naples Daily News via an email about her experience with the power outage.

"As we were descending into RSW, it was rainy and dark and the flight was very bumpy," Merrick said. "Suddenly, even though we were close to our destination we began to gain altitude again. There was no communication from the pilots for quite some time (15-20 minutes). They then informed us that we had not landed at RSW because the runway lights went out completely."

Merrick lives in Seattle now, but she said she grew up in Naples.

"I had never heard of something like this happening at RSW before," she said.

Merrick added that after some time on the ground in Tampa and after the pilots confirmed with the RSW staff that the lights were back on, her plane flew back to RSW.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2022, 06:54:54 AM by KB4TEZ »