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Night Approaches Lots Of Concentration  
User currently offlineBryan Becker From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 333 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1492 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. Big grin

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineLatechpilot From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (15 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1367 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.

User currently offlineIainhol From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (15 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1353 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!

User currently offlineBryan Becker From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (15 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1346 times:

The lights that I'm talking about

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Matthew R N Clarkson

the ones that are in the grass before the runway  Smile

User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (15 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1336 times:

By the time you see the threshold lights, you should be at a height where your nosewheel light will pick up the runway and thus the centerline.

From there you transition to landing.

- Neil Harrison

User currently offlineFLY 8 From Austria, joined Dec 2000, 329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (15 years 2 months 5 days ago) and read 1317 times:

PAPI and VASI are part of the instrument approach system! And yes, you check them even down at 100 feet, specially during night!

and Bryan Becker this approach lightning system on the photograph looks like a CALVERT system! It can be used for CAT1 and CATII approaches!


yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
User currently offlineSpoiler From Spain, joined Apr 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (15 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1287 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.

User currently offlineSpoiler From Spain, joined Apr 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (15 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1280 times:

One more thing: On a final visual approach, my scan goes something like this: Airspeed, VASI, Runway, Airspeed, VASI, Runway, Airspeed, VASI, Runway... I keep checking those until I'm on the ground.

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