Posts: 540
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 12:10 am

Is It True...

Sat Sep 30, 2000 7:47 pm

... that if two simultaneous rwy landing lights are off, the rwy can be closed for landings?
(Heard from a parisian ATC worker)
Posts: 2442
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:18 pm

RE: Is It True...

Sat Sep 30, 2000 8:08 pm

Yes, but it will be very rare!

Suppose we have the following situation:

A very foggy day, with low vis procedures for takeoff in progress.
In Europe this normally means you need 125m of RVR (runway visibility Range) to be able to start your take-off under the new JAR regulations.
However, from the flight deck, you loose a part of this marginal RVR due to the cut off angle since a large part of the nose is in front of you.
That's why you end up with a visual segment of around 90m!
Runway centre lights are in most cases spaced by only 15 meters, but on some runways they are spaced differently. Since some runway centre lights are spaced by 30m, this gives you only 3 centre lights visible when you intend to start a take off with a RVR of 125m!
If 2 of these 3 lights are u/s, you only have 1 left and you have no idea of where the centrerline is anymore (you always need two points to make a straight line, remember).

However, once you started your take off roll, it is recomended to continue even if you temporarily loose visual guidance, since an abort would be even more dangerous.

That's why your question is almost purely theoretical.
(BTW - since RVR for landings are generally higher then for take-offs, the runway will be closed more rapidly for take-offs then for landings if this situation would ever happen in real)

I hope this helped somewhat.
Posts: 540
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 12:10 am

RE: Is It True...

Mon Oct 02, 2000 8:41 pm

Sabenapilot, tx for your helpful answer  

RE: Is It True...

Sat Oct 14, 2000 12:06 am


You've posted a lot of interesting information on this site lately, thanks a lot!

I'm a Belgian citizen; I posted a message some time ago about getting my CPL. I was wondering if YOU could give me some insight, since you fly for Sabena and all. Ultimately I'd like to fly for a European airline. I attended Sabena's conference on their training programme but I found the cost of it discouraging, especially given the current $ exchange rate. I'm considering getting trained in the US, though I'm not sure how that would fit in with the JAR-FCL regulations. Let me know what you think! Thanks,


ps: my apologies to everyone else for this almost "personal" message
Posts: 2442
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:18 pm

RE: Is It True...

Sun Oct 15, 2000 6:07 am

Hi Glider25,

I'll answer you in English, so at least everybody can benefit from this...

I have done my training at the BAS - Belgian Aviation School (now called SFA - Sabena Flight Academy) a few years ago.

I know the costs at the SFA are pritty high, but getting all your licenses will be very expensive anyway, even if you try to get hold of them all on yourself.
With the SFA licenses at least you're pritty sure of a smooth carrier at Sabena, whereas with other options you might not have a change to join us at all!
Yes, there is a big need for pilots in Europe, but someone who has just finished training is not much wanted, not even at present rates of growth. This goes not only for Sabena, but also for every other company I know. However, Sabena has remarkable low entry criteria for pilots comming from the SFA. You become a first officer on A320 with as few as 350 hrs of total flying experience!

Also keep in mind that FAA licenses are not validated in JAA licenses. You'll have to pass (al least) all the exams again. If you add to this some extra flight training because of the fact that you'll most likely not find the same plane you used to fly in the States, the very different flying environment and the time between your checkrides and you'll easily see that a low cost solution might be very expensive after all.

In a nutshell: I can not give you much more advise then this:
Both options are available and I can give you several exemples of boys (and girls) who made it. On the other hand I can also tell you about bad experiences people had with both of these methods.
In general you might say that the SFA is somewhat more expensive, but is in general a safer and much faster way into the cockpit.

I hope this insight view helped you somewhat.

I have to go to bed now, because tomorrow I have to wake up very early not to mis my flights...  

RE: Is It True...

Sun Oct 15, 2000 7:43 pm


Thanks A LOT for your advice! About the JAA conversion from FAA, I was under the impression some schools in the US are JAA-approved.

I'm currently in the selection process for sponsored training programs with two European carriers. Now I know the chances of getting in are very, very slim (given the insane number of applicants), so I need to think of alternative ways to the cockpit. It's too late for me to join SFA this year; I'll think about it for next fall and keep on saving money in the meantime!

Again, thanks.

Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Is It True...

Sun Oct 15, 2000 9:11 pm

Yes there are a lot of schools that also have JAA approval so they should count too.

As far as lights go......True story

I had a medevac flight I dispatched to a remote town once. I was assured by the Airport manager that the airport had working lights. The plane got there and there was ONE working landing light on the whole field.
Posts: 2442
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2000 6:18 pm

RE: Is It True...

Sun Oct 15, 2000 9:57 pm

True, you can go for a JAA license in the USA too. But, I don't know how good that works actually. Sorry.
I suppose you don't have to do your exams again upon return in Europe (as with the FAA licenses).

One problem remains hopwever: you are not really an experienced pilot, and therefore not really wanted by larger airlines. A job at a commuter airline on a turboprop or a cargoplane will be most likely all you'll can find open for you in the first years.
Compared to the jobs offered to exually unexperienced students from the Sabena school (direct entry on the A320 or Avro RJ) this is not really a very attractive alternative it's it?

Well, it's up to you now. Good luck.

Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Is It True...

Sun Oct 15, 2000 11:51 pm

L-188 wrote:
I had a medevac flight I dispatched to a remote town once. I was assured by the Airport manager that the airport had working lights. The plane got there and there was ONE working landing light on the whole field.

Geez, I *hate* it when they lie like that....

Long ago in a country far, far, away, local rebels hijacked a turboprop airliner and landed at an airport that my airline (at the time) serviced with a single daily flight. Before sending our bird down there, we checked with our station folks, who assured us that the turboprop (with hijackers and hostage pax still aboard) was way over on the military side of the airport. We sent our flight, and it returned safely. Ditto for the next couple of days.

I'm at home watching the evening network news the next day and the story is reported that a hostage escaped from this hijacked aircraft. They had a rear door open for ventilation, and this guy leaped out, and ran like hell for 100 feet or so, and then dove head-first through one of the plate-glass windows of the TERMINAL. Military side of the airport, my butt! The staion folks (actually, GSAs not employed by the airline) had been lying to us all along to avoid our cancelling the flight(s) and causing them "problems". Turns out, they'd been parking our jet adjacent to the hijacked turboprop, and it'd have been ever so easy for the hijackers to stroll over and "upgrade" their aircraft. To make matters even worse, none our crews that transited this scene in the preceding days ever said word one to us.

When it rains, my forehead still aches from the wall-pounding I gave it at the time...  
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.

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