JBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4471 posts, RR: 21 Reply 1, posted (10 years 3 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6120 times:
"Rabbit" refers to high-intensity pulsing lights--bluish-white lights that aren't really visible in those pictures since they blink on and off so fast, but they lead up to the runway in a straight line. They are strobe lights that flash in a sequence so that, viewed from the air, it looks like a single white ball of light is moving toward the runway about once per second, hence the term "rabbit".
Side note...In certain conditions they can be distracting, so you might every once in awhile hear the term "kill the rabbit", asking the tower to turn off those lights--more commonly used way back when than now
OPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (10 years 3 months 22 hours ago) and read 6082 times:
Someone once told me that it was because they somehow resembled that gizmo that are (or were once) used in greyhound racing, i.e. where some type of mechanical rabbit-looking gizmo runs along a rail on the lefthand side of the racetrack, giving the dogs something to concentrate on and chase after.
Don't know if it;s true or not, but it sounds semi-plausible....
JohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1640 posts, RR: 3 Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5589 times:
I noticed something very interesting at JFK yesterday when I was down there. If you drive into the cargo areas at the west end of the airport, the approach lights for the Runway 13L approach are right by the road. The 13L approach is a difficult, curving affair (I think they call this the "Canarsie" approach), with a large bank to the right close to the runway threshold. The "rabbit" lights for this runway appeared to have an odd configuration. The strobes on the light standards closest to the runway were aimed straight ahead, but further out from the end of the runway, it was apparent that the strobes were aimed significantly off to the right, even though the approach lights themselves kept their straight-on angle - I guess so the strobes stay in focus as the planes make their banked approach. That must look really cool from the cockpit.
2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8 Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5551 times:
"resembled that gizmo that are (or were once) used in greyhound racing, i.e. where some type of mechanical rabbit-looking gizmo runs along a rail on the lefthand side of the racetrack, giving the dogs something to concentrate on and chase after."