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Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.  
User currently offlineKcle From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 686 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 10 months 19 hours ago) and read 6377 times:

I understand the principle of using microphone clicks to turn on runway lights, but couldn't someone with the intellegence and know-how be able to make a radio that allows them to use the aircraft freqs. and not only talk to aircraft, but annoyingly flash the runway lights at night by continuously clicking a mic.? I no that this must be highly illegal in the states, but, wouldn't that be weird seeing someone flashing the runway lights like a big, giant Morse lamp? Also, how long do the runway lights stay on after a pilot clicks the microphone?

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4184 posts, RR: 37
Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 6351 times:

They could, but they dont. Anyone with a portable com can do that. The lights return to the dimmest mode after 10 minutes if my memory serves me correctly.


Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 15 hours ago) and read 6335 times:

Pilot Controlled Lighting remains light for a minimum of 15 minutes after activation, and after that period may be set to low or off. Most airports in the Northwest go off.  Big thumbs up


09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31580 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 6251 times:

Quoting Kcle (Thread starter):
how long do the runway lights stay on after a pilot clicks the microphone

Still don't get it.Whats this about.Are you saying the Lights are out until the landing Aircraft pilots uses his Mic to communicate.

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 6243 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
Still don't get it.Whats this about.Are you saying the Lights are out until the landing Aircraft pilots uses his Mic to communicate.

Most untended (at night) airports in the US have runway lights that are turned on by keying the radio mike 3, 5, or 7 times (for low, med, & high intensity, though not all have all three levels) on the CTAF frequency which turns the lights on for 15 minutes, after which they go out again (I have never seen any that do not go off). I have never seen or heard of anyone abusing this (although anyone with an aviation radio could) or even abusing aviation radio communications in the 20 years I have been flying GA. Communications, especially in controlled airspace, is so vital and so easy to interfere with I'm surprised that with all the nuts in the world that there haven't been more problems with it. Let's just hope that this continues.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 6215 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
Still don't get it.Whats this about.Are you saying the Lights are out until the landing Aircraft pilots uses his Mic to communicate.

Yeap

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 4):
Most untended (at night) airports in the US have runway lights that are turned on by keying the radio mike 3, 5, or 7 times (for low, med, & high intensity, though not all have all three levels) on the CTAF frequency which turns the lights on for 15 minutes, after which they go out again (I have never seen any that do not go off). I have never seen or heard of anyone abusing this (although anyone with an aviation radio could) or even abusing aviation radio communications in the 20 years I have been flying GA. Communications, especially in controlled airspace, is so vital and so easy to interfere with I'm surprised that with all the nuts in the world that there haven't been more problems with it. Let's just hope that this continues.

 thumbsup  Good answer.


User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 6210 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
Still don't get it.Whats this about.Are you saying the Lights are out until the landing Aircraft pilots uses his Mic to communicate.

As SEPilot stated, at many unattended "towerless" airfields, the lights are not constant burning.

Many airport due this to save money, both on their electricity bill and the maintenance associated with changing burnt-out bulbs.

I must admit, it can be annoying as hell when you are flying within a particular airport's pattern at night, and you hear "chirps" from distant airfields on the same frequency.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6272 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 6207 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 6):
As SEPilot stated, at many unattended "towerless" airfields, the lights are not constant burning.

I know of a couple of towered fields that revert to pilot-controlled lighting after the tower controllers go home for the night, too...



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6272 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6194 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
Still don't get it.Whats this about.Are you saying the Lights are out until the landing Aircraft pilots uses his Mic to communicate.

regds
MEL

Just the runway, taxiway, and approach lights, MEL...the rotating beacon is typically photocell activated and keeps going all night.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6192 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 7):
I know of a couple of towered fields that revert to pilot-controlled lighting after the tower controllers go home for the night, too...

Very true, alot of the Class D airports that I know of have a tendency to revert to Class G/E airspace at night. But when that happens, it effectively becomes a "towerless" airfield.


User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5354 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6185 times:

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 5):
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
Still don't get it.Whats this about.Are you saying the Lights are out until the landing Aircraft pilots uses his Mic to communicate.

Yeap

Well, let's be clear here. It's not necessarily when he uses the mic to communicate (to ATC or CTAF) ... it's when he uses the mic to switch the lights on ... which might be 10 mins before you actually report position (although it shouldn't be!). Presumably you can be quite a way out from the field - as long as you are in radio range.

Another very important piece of advice, is to click them on again when close to final. If the lights are timed to 15 minutes only, and you first keyed them on when 10 miles out ... you'd hate them to switch off when on final!

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineOnetogo From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6184 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 9):
Very true, alot of the Class D airports that I know of have a tendency to revert to Class G/E airspace at night. But when that happens, it effectively becomes a "towerless" airfield.

All would become E surface areas or G upon the tower closing.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6181 times:

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 10):
Another very important piece of advice, is to click them on again when close to final. If the lights are timed to 15 minutes only, and you first keyed them on when 10 miles out ... you'd hate them to switch off when on final!

I have had this happen; usually when I'm doing practice TO's & lndgs for currency; no big deal because I know it can happen; just click the mic again.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineCptSpeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6173 times:

One thing to consider with PCL (Pilot Controlled Lighting) is the location of the receiver. I routinely fly out of W24, Falwell Airport, in Lynchburg, VA. This is the steepest sloped runway in the US and the hangars are at the bottom of the hill. The receiver for the PCL as well as the lighting controls are in the hangar, so if you are approaching the airport from the south or west, your VHF signal will be blocked by the hill, so you have to wait until you're pretty much on downwind to turn the lights on. This means that you have to be quite familiar with exactly where the airport is to be able to find it, because you have to know where it is to be able to turn the lights on and see it.

Also, LYH, the regional airport 4 miles from W24 reverts to PCL after the tower closes at night. The controllers flip a toggle switch located on the airport lighting panel and that turns all the lights to low intensity, then when activated, they'll increase to whatever intensity selected. Then when the tower reopens the next morning, the toggle is flipped again and the controllers have full control over the lighting.

About abuse of this...late at night, PCL can provide a great means of staying alert. Often when flying a cross-country at night, I'll activate the PCL at EVERY airport along my route and try to pick them out. This keeps me looking outside and hones my airport-spotting skills  Smile Theres one airport in the area that has a couple mobile homes beside it, so occasionally I'll flash the lights a few times just to make the people wonder what is going on and why the lights are on but there aren't any airplanes there.  Smile We've turned airport lights on while driving next to it down the highway at night with a transceiver too...

Your CptSpeaking



...and don't call me Shirley!!
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6165 times:

I had an interesting problem on my plane. I had installed a new radio (KX-155) shortly after aquiring it and after a while discovered it had a hard time turning on the runway lights. The problem got worse until it got to the point that it wouldn't do it at all; while the second radio had no trouble at all. I eventually took it to my avionics specialist, who found one bad resistor that caused the radio to be slow to lock onto the selected frequency. He replaced the resistor and the radio has happily turned on runway lights ever since.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6157 times:
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HEAD DATABASE EDITOR




Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 14):
I'll activate the PCL at EVERY airport along my route



Quoting CptSpeaking (Reply 14):
We've turned airport lights on while driving next to it down the highway at night with a transceiver too...

Visions of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation come to mind. Specifically, the shot of the spinning dials on Clark Griswold's electricity meter after the Christmas lights are turned on....  Wink

2H4





Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6272 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6102 times:

Quoting Ralgha (Reply 2):
Pilot Controlled Lighting remains light for a minimum of 15 minutes after activation, and after that period may be set to low or off. Most airports in the Northwest go off

There's one NW field where the main runway is permanently lit (low intensity), and the X-wind runway goes off, until you click the lights on (and the main runway goes to the intensity that you clicked  Wink ). I'm trying to remember which field that is...I'm thinking SLE, or maybe PAE, but IIRC, PAE's control tower is 24 hours.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 6053 times:

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 4):
I have never seen or heard of anyone abusing this (although anyone with an aviation radio could)

One of the many fun things you can do with a transceiver. Big grin  duck 

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 7):
I know of a couple of towered fields that revert to pilot-controlled lighting after the tower controllers go home for the night, too...

PRC is like this. Tower closes at 10pm, Riddle has flights going till midnight usually, so the tower sets the lights to automatically switch to PCL after midnight.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31580 posts, RR: 57
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6036 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 8):
Just the runway, taxiway, and approach lights, MEL...the rotating beacon is typically photocell activated and keeps going all night

Interesting.Thanks to all concerned.

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 10):
Another very important piece of advice, is to click them on again when close to final. If the lights are timed to 15 minutes only, and you first keyed them on when 10 miles out ... you'd hate them to switch off when on final

Is the Switching on Instant or is there a T/D.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineCptSpeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6032 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 18):
Is the Switching on Instant or is there a T/D.

To turn the PCL on, you must key the mic 3, 5, or 7 times in a maximum of 5 seconds. As soon as you get those clicks in, the lights come on. I have seen some a little delayed when switching between intensities though...

Your CptSpeaking



...and don't call me Shirley!!
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