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Contarnex Europe Limited
Frangible Aviation Structures and LED Obstruction Lighting Specialists


Posted on: March 23rd, 2017

Contarnex Europe Limited (CEL) has been involved in an exciting new project to provide remote obstacle lighting (ROL)  around the new airport on the remote tropical island of St Helena.

For many centuries, this remote colonial outpost in the south Atlantic could only be reached after a long sea voyage – one of the reasons why it was chosen as a safe place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte after his final defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Even in more modern times, it was only possible to reach the island by boat, a journey which could take up to 5 days, with a regular service just twice a month.

Finally in 2016, an airport was built to serve the island’s population of 5,000 people and Contarnex was contracted to deliver ROL installations around the new facilities. The island is volcanic in origin, therefore the site of the airport is surrounded by high peaks, which makes it necessary to deploy safety lighting to help keep aircraft out of danger with the use of commercial lightning.

Working in partnership with Thales, CEL was contracted to deliver three sub-systems to the island airport; ROLs – aircraft warning lighting to 12 radio controlled remote sites located on high ground around the airport, frangible approach masts, aviation warning light and control for the airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower.

Each hilltop site includes a pair of CEL-MI-2KR-48 Medium Intensity lights (one main light, plus one reserve), a radio link, a monitoring unit and a charge controller. This equipment is powered by batteries that are charged by renewable power solar panels and a wind turbine, and suitable for operation in a range of extreme weather conditions, including wind speeds up to 160 kilometres per hour.

All 12 sites are remotely controlled via a radio link, which allows the aircraft warning lights to be switched on and off from the main air traffic control building, as well as monitoring the battery charge level, the radio strength, the operational warning light and the photocell.

CEL’s lights are an LED variant, which conforms strictly to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations for Type C medium intensity obstruction lights (ICAO Annex 14 Table 6-3).

The complete system was designed in the UK by CEL, made in Europe, and shipped out to St Helena for installation by the local engineering team. In addition to the remote lighting installations and the warning light on the air traffic control building, CEL also supplied the Exel Frangible Support Structures for the lights on the runway approaches, as well as two years’ worth of spare parts.

CEL’s spokesman, Paul Turpeinen, said:

“Every part of our aircraft warning light system had to be designed, manufactured, assembled, then rigorously radio tested in the surrounding hillside areas of Devon, following the successful FAT and shipping out to the south Atlantic – this was a true test of military-style precision and planning. We worked very closely with our project partners to achieve a successful result and we’re proud to have been part of a truly historic new development for St Helena.”

ROL locations nos at St Helena Island

st helena map


There are a number of these solar powered safety beacons that have been installed on top of the Barn as part of the St Helena Airport project. Quite impressive that someone carried all this equipement up here!

There are a number of these solar powered safety beacons that have been installed on top of the Barn as part of the St Helena Airport project. Quite impressive that someone carried all this equipment up here! photo credit to whatthesaintsdidnext

Medium Intensity Lighting at St Helena Airport ROL program - CEL-MI-2KR-24-X

CEL-MI-2KR-24-X variant.

Notes to editors:

Contarnex Europe Limited (CEL) is the UK’s leading specialist supplier of European-made aircraft warning lights, low intensity obstruction lighting, medium intensity obstacle lights and other aircraft warning lights and products. The company provides a wide range of frangible structures, for airports and airfields, as well as a comprehensive advisory service to help customers comply with regulations relating to aviation and building safety.

CEL’s range of products also includes aircraft warning lights for tall buildings, wind turbines, tower cranes and all other high-rise structures which may present significant safety hazards for commercial and military aviation. The company’s new CEL infrared light is the only vertical obstruction lighting product to have received full clearance from the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

St Helena’s new airport is protected by CEL’s Medium Intensity ICAO Type-C obstruction lights. Additional benefits include extended LED lifetime, long warranties, very low power consumption and a compact lightweight design.

CEL’s latest generation of networked aviation warning light control systems are currently being deployed to safeguard numerous tall buildings across the world, including, Abu Dhabi Plaza, Astana, Kazakhstan,  Al Bahr Tower, UAE, The Shard, London etc

For more information on CEL and its products and services, please contact the sales department at www.contarnex.com


Al Bahr Towers – Abu Dhabi, UAE – Aircraft Warning Lighting

Posted on: January 26th, 2017


Located opposite Mangrove National Park in Abu Dhabi City, United Arab Emirates. The architecture of Al-Bahr towers is Islamic inspired.

These 29 story towers support an Eco design feature that monitors the suns direct intensity to the buildings that result in rising daytime internal floor temperatures. The façade which is made up of external panels covering the towers are controlled by the building management system to automatically open and close the glass panels of the façade for increased shading.

Whilst receiving Energy and Environmental honours in the Emporis Skyscraper Awards, CEL aviation were selected to supply the Aircraft Warning Lighting for its quality and high performance in the demanding local temperatures.

The Contarnex Medium Intensity ICAO Type-C obstruction lighting was designed to interface with the Building Management System complete with battery back-ups. With extended LED lifetime, long warranties and very low power consumption complete with a compact lightweight design the warning light system was quickly approved for use fulfilling the required energy and environment credentials.

The latest generation of networked aircraft warning lights are being specified and deployed in numerous tall building installations globally. More information can be found at www.contarnex.com

Al Bahr Towers were designed by AHR (formerly Aedas UK), and constructed by Carillion.


IR Wind Turbine Aircraft Safety Lighting

Posted on: March 17th, 2013

Here is a demonstration of how our LED Infrared wind turbine aircraft warning lights are displayed through military approved NVGs (night-vision goggles). The 850nm IR lighting is invisible to the naked eye therefore removing any potential light pollution problems in rural areas whilst maintaining full safety for low flying military aircraft operations.


Welcome to Contarnex News

Posted on: March 4th, 2013

Here we will display case studies of new and past projects and list the latest news on forthcoming products and developments.

Contarnex Lights the Shard

Posted on: March 11th, 2012

Tallest Building in Europe Equipped with CEL Aviation Obstacle Lights


_MG_5906The Shard of Glass at London Bridge is the tallest skyscraper in London. After completion in 2012 The Shard became the tallest building in the European Union at the time of construction.

The building stands at 310 meters tall and has offices, restaurants, a hotel and public viewing gallery at level 72 as well as private apartments. Over and above the gallery additional levels take you higher to the very top aircraft warning lights located at level 94 where the feature shards meet the sky.

Renzo Piano’s skyscraper design of The Shard is a triangular pyramid shape and is fully glass clad from the base to the top.

The red lights can be seen from across the city and these give aviation traffic their visual reference to the tall buildings, particularly for the local lower level helicopters routed to fly along the River Thames.

The Aircraft Warning Lights are LED technology for their extreme reliability and their very low power consumption. CEL was chosen as their light heads are very small and lightweight approx. 3kg and offer very low ‘flow distortion’  particularly useful for meteorological mast and turbines where wind needs to be unaffected. The feature shards at the top of the building have two compliant medium intensity obstruction lights fitted.

The remaining intermediary light levels are also equipped with CEL aviation Medium Intensity Type C – Led Obstruction lights at 45m separation levels to ground thus resulting in 18 lights on 6 different floor levels.

All the red warning lights are networked to the Shard Local Area fiber-optic Network for their building management system in the unlikely event of any equipment and cable failures.

CEL was instrumental at the early stage of building design, meeting with ARUP the consulting engineers and the nominated contractors MACE, further safeguarding consultation with the CAA, to delivery and final commissioning over a 4 year period.

CEL was delighted to have delivered successfully on such a signature building and have since delivered to numerous tall building projects worldwide.

Shard London Bridge skyscraper is equipped with 18 medium-intensity Type C steady-burning obstacle lights.  Majority of them are 180° lights fittings to control the light distribution where you need it, and minimize light leakage towards the building.

The lights are located at six different levels.  On top of the building two 360° medium-intensity lights are installed. Rest of the building is equipped with 180° medium-intensity lights at the other different levels.  All the lights are networked through the CEL-CSW-48-16-F controllers that are located near the light heads.

Our products were chosen for this project due their long and reliable lifetime. In addition, low power consumption, small and compact size and easy-to-install – functions were seen as main advantages. A 5-year warranty was also a strong sign of reliability for the architects and decision-makers to choose these particular lights. “We want to be active in building sector in the future. Our product portfolio covers extensively the needs of aviation obstacle light systems on tall buildings ”, says Paul Turpeinen, of CEL Aviation.