Solar Glare Analysis at Vienna Airport helps avoid Glaring Hazard

Zehndorfer Engineering Consulting




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A glint and glare study at Vienna Airport revealed potential dazzling of the air-traffic control tower.
A clear view towards the runway is essential for air traffic controllers. Take-off and landing clearance can be optimized only, if visual contact to a free runway is present. Even for ground-bound traffic, visual contact is important and not completely replaceable by radar.
The many commercial buildings at Vienna Airport use a lot of electricity. Since sustainable operations have set to be a priority, the airport’s management decided for the constructions of several photovoltaic installations on the otherwise unused roofs of hangars and office buildings, which are going to be constructed in the years to come.

Zehndorfer Engineering was mandated with the assessment of potential solar glare reflections. The glare simulation showed an unacceptable dazzling of air-traffic controllers in the tower. Due to the fact that the planned PV installations is situated in the direction of the runway, the monitoring view of air traffic controllers would have been impeded at certain times of the day. Fortunately, the solar glare calculation has been executed in an early phase of development, which made a change of the direction of PV panels easy and helped avoiding glaring at the tower completely.

Jakob Zehndorfer is advisor for Glare Assessments and Photovoltaics to the Austrian court of law. He has executed several solar glare assessment at airports, highways, railroads and for neighbors adjacent to solar plants in Germany and Austria.