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36 Airports and the Newest Generation of General Aviation Aircraft 5.2.8 Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) Approach lighting helps pilots identify the runway environment, particularly when executing an instrument approach. To obtain instrument approach minimums lower than 1-mile visibility, an ALS needs to be installed at the end of the runway. An ALS is a configuration of lights around the extended runway centerline that start at the runway threshold and extend outward into the approach zone. The system provides visual information on runway alignment, height, and hori- zon reference. The basic systems provide 1,400 feet of lights beyond the runway end. For a preci- sion approach, the system is normally 2,400 feet long. The most common types of lighting systems for airports serving small aircraft are shown in Figure 5-4. The need for and use of an ALS is determined in conjunction with the establishment of instrument approach procedures. 5.2.9 Runway Markings Runway markings provide additional data to pilots to identify their location relative to the run- way. The more precise the approach, the more pavement markings are used to identify the loca- Source: FAA Order 6850.2A, Visual Guidance Lighting System. Figure 5-4. Approach lighting systems.