Study of the risks of aircraft pilot being blinded by glares during the approach phase

The issues involved in the project

The risks of the dazzling of pilots during approach phases at Nice Côte d’Azur airport, due to the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Centre d’Activité de Loueurs, needed to be assessed.
The risks of the dazzling of pilots during approach phases needed to be quantified and, by agreement with the DGAC (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile – Directorate-General for Civil Aviation), we needed to decide upon the relevant criteria.

Service provided by Sophia Conseil

Engineers from the optics and detection centre provided an assessment of the risks of dazzling by carrying out the following phases:

  • Using the ZEMAX ray tracing software to model the course of the sun and the roof with solar panels on it as a whole, adhering to the dimensioned drawings provided (orientations, dimensions, etc.) and the buildings potentially located over the course of the rays reflected by the roof
  • A study identifying the times of day and/or of year which could potentially be problematic according to the sensitive geographical zones
  • A specific study, according to the dazzling criteria defined, of each potentially problematic case and calculation of the following:
    – the exposure times induced by each reflection
    – variations in the pilot’s viewing direction of the rays reflected by the roof
  • A quantification of the luminance of the panels according to their types and compositions in order to suggest the most appropriate panel


  • The assessment and advice provided by the optics centre, especially in relation to the choices of panels to be installed, helped to get the project approved by the DGAC and, as a result, it was built.