PCL (Pilot controlled lights)

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Pilot-controlled lighting (PCL), also known as aircraft radio control of aerodrome lighting (ARCAL) or pilot-activated lighting (PAL), is a system which allows aircraft pilots to control the lighting of an airport or airfield's approach lights, edge lights, and taxiways via radio. At some airfields, the aerodrome beacon may also be ARCAL controlled. ARCAL is most common at non-towered or little-used airfields where it is neither economical to light the runways all night, nor to provide staff to turn the runway lighting on and off. It enables pilots to control the lighting only when required, saving electricity and reducing light pollution.

To activate the lights, the pilot clicks the radio transmit switch on the ARCAL frequency a certain number of times within a specified number of seconds. There are two type of ARCAL systems, type J and type K.

Type J systems are activated by keying the microphone five times within 5 seconds, while type K is initially activated by clicking seven times within 5 seconds. Once activated, the intensity of type K systems may then be turned to low, medium, or high intensity settings by keying the microphone three, five, or seven times within 5 seconds, respectively. If runway identification lights are also controlled by type K ARCAL, they may be turned off by keying the microphone three times.[1]

When either type of system is activated, a 15-minute countdown starts, after which the lights turn off. While the lights are on, whenever a lighting command is issued, whether it changes the lighting intensity or not, the fifteen minute countdown is reset. At some airfields, the lights may flash once to warn pilots that the lights are about to go off, before turning off two minutes later.

When using ARCAL, it is strongly recommended that aircraft on final approach to the airfield issue a fresh lighting command, even if the lights are already on (especially if the lights were activated by another aircraft). This is so that the lighting does not turn off at a critical moment (such as when crossing the runway threshold).

(Quelle: Wikipedia)

This LUA plugin will allow switching on the lights at airports that are equipped with switchable lighting


First install "FlyWithLUA" : http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=17468

If LUA works, just copy the script "PCL.lua" into the "Scripts" folder of LUA.

Start X-Plane and have fun Smile


  • Switches the frequency of the standby-ADF1 to 200 and back to the previously set value.

The packet consists of

  • some objects (lights), only visible when Stby-ADF2 = 200
  • some .str-files, for easier positioning the objects
  • dthe LUA-Script, for switching ON the lights like in real life.


LAMINAR RESEARCH®      für X-Plane®

X-Friese                                    für "FlyWithLUA"

Update 1.1: new Hold-Line with yellow lights to the Runway and red (if lights are switched off) or green (if lights are switched on) to the Apron.

Update 2.1.2: Bugfix: New Button-Name

  PCL.lua.1.2.1.zip (The LUA-Script for Pilots, 1 kB)

  PCL 1.2.1.zip (The complete package for Szenery-Designers, 1 MB)

PCL_update_1.1.zip (only the new lights, 4kB)

  PCL_Manual_1.2_DE.pdf (1,6 MB)

  PCL_Manual_1.2_EN.pdf (1,6 MB)