Intermod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (13 years 11 months 7 hours ago) and read 4115 times:
Can anyone here explain how the VASI indication system is able to judge an aircraft's actual approach altitude relative to the proper altitude? Is it connected to the tower's radar system, does ATC personnel manually control it, or does it have some other method of judging altitude/distance from the runway?
Also, what happens when more than one aircraft are simultaneously approaching a single runway? Which plane would the VASI correspond to?
Ralgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (13 years 11 months 7 hours ago) and read 4025 times:
The VASI lights have no idea where any aircraft are and it doesn't matter. Each set of lights is focused in such away so that if the aircraft is above a certain angle with respect to the lights, the pilot will see the white set. If the aircraft is below that certain angle the pilot sees the red set of lights. At most runways, a 3 degree descent angle will make the red set appear on the set farther away from the aircraft and the white set appear on the set closer to the aircraft.
DEN-HNL From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4016 times:
Good explanation, Ralgha. I'd like to add that if more than one plane is approaching the same runway, the VASI corresponds to all aircraft who can see it. Your angle of descent determines what color light you see.
Jet Setter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4015 times:
There are usually 2 or 3 pairs of VASI Boxes either side of the runway. As has been explanined, 2 rows of white lights means you are too high, 2 rows of reg lights and you are too low. How is this achieved?
Inside each VASI box there are very intense lights, and coloured filters are placed over these - top half red, bottom half white. At the other end of each box is a slit, through which you see the lights - the geometry of the boxes is determined by the glideslope angle. Now just think about looking through the slit, if you are lower down, you see the top half of the filter (red) If you are higher up you see the lower, white section.
Other approach guidance systems are;
Non-Standard VASI - French system (trust the French!)
PAPI - Precision Approach Path Indicator - Common in UK
PLASI - Pulse Light Approach Slope Indicator
CHAPI - "Chopper" system
I'm not going to explain all these because I don't have a spare 5 hours!