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Airport Beacon

 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 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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