Bryan Becker From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 333 posts, RR: 0 Posted (14 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1105 times:
The accident at Sky Harbor got me thinking about this. now Sky Harbor is not a airport to have those lights in front of the runway those red and white ones I don't know what they are called but they direct you to the runway. Sky Harbor has just the lights that are green and go accross the thresh hold of the runways. Now at night how you would you know if you are lines up and ext. it must take alot of concentration to succesfuly get the plane on the ground.
Latechpilot From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (14 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 980 times:
Those lights you are talking about (or lack of) are part of a precision approach to the runway called an Instrument Landing System (ILS). What I mean by precision is that the pilot has vertical and horizontal guidance to the runway. Runways without this type of approach usually will not have all of the fancy lights. Thus, the minimums for the runway will be higher. Minimums are how far a pilot can descend without seeing the runway environment. The pilot must see the lights before he can continue below the minimums. To answer your question, no, it is not hard nor does it take lots of concentration at night to land an aircraft without approach lights. Most runways have glide-path lights that tell you if you are too high or too low. These are called Visual Approach Slope Indicators (VASI) or Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) lights. I hope this helps.
Iainhol From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (14 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 966 times:
I do not think the PAPI and VASI are classed as part of the Instrument Landing System. As when you are down at 250 feet do you really have time to check that?? No you are far to busy landing the airplane!
Landing at night is pretty easy, when you are far away from the airport it is a dark patch, and as you get closer all the lights light up and you can see everything pretty easy. I do not find landing at night any more difficult then during the day, however finding airports can be a little tricky sometimes!
Spoiler From Spain, joined Apr 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (14 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 900 times:
Just to add to what has been said, those lights are part of what is called 'the runway environment.' I've never been confused by them on an approach. In fact, there have been times when I've wanted more of them. For example, I was approaching PVU runway 36 at night. the winds favored that runway, but there was still a bit of a crosswind component. The runway only had the green endlights, and the white edge lights. Needless to say, the approach was 'exciting,' and I would have been very grateful for a VASI. This was back in 1995, and I still remember it. I know PVU has changed since then, and they may have added a VASI on that runway - in fact, let me check... Checked AOPA's online directory and couldn't figure it out, and I don't have my Flight Guide right with me, so I can't say conclusively. I've never flown anything bigger than a Piper Archer, so I don't know how it is in larger aircraft. But when you flare a smaller airplane, all you can see is the runway edge lights going by in your side windows. It makes it pretty hard to judge how high you are above the ground, so you can't really tell how hard to pull back on the yoke. So when you are learning night landings, you can have some really rough landings. Heaven know's that I've had my share.