The Dickson County Municipal Airport will be getting an upgrade to its lighting system on the runway and tarmacs during the next 12 months. The new system will also give pilots some control over the lights.

According to Director of Operations Mike Gallagher, the project will cost close to $1 million dollars and is expected to be finished by next September.

The lighting plan includes LED lights for runway and taxiway lights, landing aids and navigational lighting. The money will come from funds controlled by the Federal Aviation Authority, which will disperse the money to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Gallagher said he requested the upgrade the lighting system, which is about 20 years old, to TDOT about two years ago. He said the current lighting system usually needs to be replaced every 20 to 25 years.

One of the major upgrades will be the installation of new precision approach path indicator or PAPI lights, which are a visual glide scope on the side of the runway that will be able to be controlled by the pilots.

Wingman Academy owner and pilot Toby Rice has been flying in and out of Dickson Airport for about seven years. When asked about the lighting upgrade, he said, “Well, it sure is nice to see the runway when you’re trying to land on it. Right now, we don’t have very bright lights. Having the new LED lights will definitely be an upgrade. I’ve always liked it when I’ve flown into an airport with those styles of lighting.”

Rice said that the new lighting will be especially helpful in bad weather.

“There are times I’ve had to land at other airports because it was too foggy and I couldn’t see the runway,” he said.

Gallagher said the new system would allow the pilots to increase the intensity of the lights using a clicker on their radio.

The airport currently handles between 400 and 600 takeoffs and landings each month, Gallagher said.

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