Sponsor Message:
Aviation Technical / Operations Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Taking Off At Night Without Runway Lights - Legal?  
User currently offlinePiedmontINT From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 7271 times:

So im at work relaxing after our last flight and I check flightaware out and sure enough there is a B752 coming to MHK! Its very rare that our tiny little airport sees such a large aircraft and so of course I have to wait for it to see the landing but more importantly the takeoff! It was an Omni Air International bird (didn't get the reg and damnit if i didnt bring my camera!) bringing in soldiers to the Ft. Riley army base a few miles away.

Well after it is offloaded and refueled it taxis out to the runway and sits for a few minutes getting clearance from KC Center since our tower closes at 10p and it was 2:30a when he was leaving. After getting his clearance, the 757 then turned onto the active and rocketed down the runway, without turning the field lights on by keying the mic on tower's frequency!!!

So that begs the question, is it legal for an aircraft depart from an uncontrolled airfield at night without the field and runway lights on? And if it is, why would you? It puzzles me why you wouldnt want to have the lights on in this situation.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePblaketas From Australia, joined Jun 2001, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7245 times:

This is a big issue in Australia at the moment - see PPRUNE about a Jetstar A320 taking off at Launceston without the lights on, even though a Qantas flight had done something similar a few years earlier and the pilots are involved in legal action.

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=318491


User currently offlineNEMA From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 710 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7245 times:

Well on a slightly different matter but similar topic, i recall a TV documentary in the 80's where a pilot said he was flying into the old Athens airport (Now Defunct), requested that the runway lights were turned on and he got the reply that they couldn't because they might fuse the system.

A genuine situation that actually happened but i think it would be more unlikely these days.



There isnt really a dark side to the moon, as a matter of fact its all dark!
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4742 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7230 times:

Well... from an air traffic controller's point of view (well, ex- anyway), anything flight movements after 1900H would have been classified "night ops" and yes, turning on the airfield lights was mandatory. In the northern and southern hemispheres where the sunset vary widely according to season, the timing might differ. However, if the airfield was unmanned and the activation of these lights were via radio frequency, who was there to say no-go to the aircraft should he thunder down the runway without any airfield lightings? No one.

By right, it wasn't supposed to happen. By left, the airfield was unmanned and it was up to the onus of the pilot to ensure his own safety.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlinePiedmontINT From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7184 times:



Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 3):
However, if the airfield was unmanned and the activation of these lights were via radio frequency, who was there to say no-go to the aircraft should he thunder down the runway without any airfield lightings? No one.

We have a transceiver and I thought about saying something to him, sort of in a joking manner like "hey, is it a little dark out there?" or something, but I was a little too much in shock to see not only a 757 at our podunk airport, but a 757 haul down the runway in pitch black.. Big grin


User currently offline797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1890 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 7064 times:

Legal? I don't know but I have seen it several times.

I recall the moment in which Venezuela was going through one of its latest crisis and the government started using the airport located in the heart of Caracas to take out the government members that were involved with all the issues that were going on by then. This escape was so evident that the aircraft turned on and off its taxi light on a constant basis to avoid to be seen, until it was airborne, it was pretty impressive...



Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
User currently offlineTjwgrr From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 2415 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6948 times:

Maybe the pilot controlled lighting was inop?

I'm sure the crew had no problem seeing the runway markings with the a/c's lights on.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nathan Zalcman - AirTeamImages


[Edited 2008-03-27 05:47:11]


Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7505 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6926 times:

What was the visibility? Moon up or down, cloudy or clear?

A rough guess was the pilot felt he had enough visibility - and was cursing the airport lights for not working properly.

May have had the wrong frequency on an old chart, may have thought he properly keyed the lights and they were not working.

I've never seen anything which requires there be lights to operate an aircraft at night. One that large, yes very unusual.

Would probably be against the operating procedure of a larger airline.

But the US military does some large flights without lights. A friend who recently completed C-17 training mentions the weirdness of doing night landings and takeoffs in the C-17 on dirt assault strips with no lights - using night vision gear.

That's another possibility, they may have had that equipment onboard.


User currently offlineTjwgrr From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 2415 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6907 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 7):
That's another possibility, they may have had that equipment onboard.

Interesting point. Do CRAF crews operate with night vision equipment and avoid using a/c lighting since they fly into and out of potentially hostile areas?



Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3410 posts, RR: 17
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6891 times:

At a controlled airfield (has an open ATCT), the runway lights are required during night and IFR conditions.

At uncontrolled airfields, it is the pilot's resposibility to use them, so it's "legal," but arguably unsafe.

Funny thing is, if a runway's lights are OTS, most airports NOTAM the runway closed, yet if the lights are working, but optionally not turned on by the PCL feature by the pilot, it is "OK" to use the runway - sort of contradictory if you ask me.


User currently offlineSlovacek747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6734 times:

I recently few from AUS-IAH on an early morning departure. It was around 6am and it was still dark outside.. as we turned onto the runway, the runway lights were clearly not on. The only lights I could see were those of the plane (which were very bright). I thought this was kind of odd at the time, but in no way thought it was unsafe. Though I couldn't see much of the runway, I did feel very comfortable when seeing how bright the plane's lights were near the front landing gear.

Anway, just thought I would chime in with my experience.

Slovacek747


User currently offlinePiedmontINT From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6664 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 7):
What was the visibility? Moon up or down, cloudy or clear?

A rough guess was the pilot felt he had enough visibility - and was cursing the airport lights for not working properly.

May have had the wrong frequency on an old chart, may have thought he properly keyed the lights and they were not working.

Moon down, and low clouds, I would say below 700 feet. Really humid and almost foggy, the thick air that makes everything wet.

He keyed the lights on for landing, so they were in working order and I keyed them on for fun after he left. I should have done it as he was hauling ass down the runway :P

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 7):
But the US military does some large flights without lights. A friend who recently completed C-17 training mentions the weirdness of doing night landings and takeoffs in the C-17 on dirt assault strips with no lights - using night vision gear.

That's another possibility, they may have had that equipment onboard.

It was an Omni Air charter 757 from BGR and MHK isn't in a combat zone. Why would he have night vision gear?

I know the 757's landing lights are more than bright enough to illuminate the runway, but for safety at a small uncontrolled airport you would think you would want to at least see where the narrow taxiways are and where they drop off into a ditch wouldnt you?


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7505 posts, RR: 32
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6641 times:



Quoting PiedmontINT (Reply 11):
I should have done it as he was hauling ass down the runway

NO !!!!

Possibly before he started the takeoff - but you really don't want to suddenly change a pilot's field of view during a critical phase of flight without any notification it's going to happen.


User currently offlineCoronado990 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1596 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6581 times:

I would think the most dangerous part of this maneuver is not having any runway end lights. Following the centerline strip without side runway lights during take-off shouldn't be much of a problem. But not having runway end lights for a possible abort makes this slightly dangerous in my mind.

My two cents.



Uncle SAN at your service!
User currently offlineChiGB1973 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1613 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6541 times:



Quoting Tjwgrr (Reply 8):
Interesting point. Do CRAF crews operate with night vision equipment and avoid using a/c lighting since they fly into and out of potentially hostile areas?

We never did at TZ.

M


Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic Taking Off At Night Without Runway Lights - Legal?
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Tech/Ops related posts only!
  • Not Tech/Ops related? Use the other forums
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
UPS 757 Landing At Night W/o Lights? posted Thu Nov 16 2006 08:00:51 by Motopolitico
No Lights At Night posted Mon Mar 4 2002 20:02:35 by David B.
AA B757 Taking Off With Only One Winglet posted Sun Mar 23 2008 22:48:13 by Baron95
Heavies Taking Off From SFO posted Tue Mar 4 2008 14:02:52 by VikingA346
Runway Lights posted Sun Jan 13 2008 20:24:22 by A318
Procedure For Engine Failure At Night posted Mon Jun 25 2007 19:32:19 by GAIsweetGAI
Taking Off (or Not) In Fog From BHX posted Sat Apr 14 2007 22:00:15 by EMAlad
Does Engine Exhaust Glow At Night? posted Fri Aug 18 2006 15:04:45 by CURLYHEADBOY
Taking Off With Just One Engine posted Wed Jul 5 2006 00:05:22 by Hagic
Flight Deck Lighting At Night posted Tue Feb 21 2006 11:06:10 by NWOrientDC10

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format