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Airport Lighting

 Airport Lighting

  • The majority of airports have some type of lighting for night operations.
  • The variety and type of lighting systems depends on the volume and complexity of operations at a given airport.
  • Airport lighting is standardized so that airports use the same light colors for runways and taxiways.

Airport Beacon

  • Airport beacons help a pilot identify an airport at night. The beacons are operated from dusk till dawn. Sometimes they are turned on if the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet and/ or the ground visibility is less than 3 statute miles (VFR minimums).
  • However, there is no requirement for this, so a pilot has the responsibility of determining if the weather meets VFR requirements.
  •  The beacon has a vertical light distribution to make it most effective from 1–10° above the
  • horizon, although it can be seen well above or below this spread.
  •  The beacon may be an omnidirectional capacitor-discharge device, or it may rotate at a constant speed, which produces the visual effect of flashes at regular intervals.
  •  The combination of light colors from an airport beacon indicates the type of airport.
  •  Some of the most common

beacons are:

• Flashing white and green for civilian land airports;

• Flashing white and yellow for a water airport;

• Flashing white, yellow, and green for a heliport; and

• Two quick white flashes alternating with a green flash

identifying a military airport.

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