KCLE
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Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Sun Jul 01, 2001 12:50 pm

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?
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Sun Jul 01, 2001 2:57 pm

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.
 
Ralgha
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Sun Jul 01, 2001 4:52 pm

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
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HAWK21M
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:41 pm

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
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:35 pm

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
 
TedTAce
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:45 am

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.
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N231YE
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:57 am

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.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:02 am

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...
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KELPkid
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:25 am

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 :-)
 
N231YE
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:29 am

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.
 
bond007
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:45 am

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
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onetogo
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:55 am

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.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:57 am

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
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:07 am

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
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SEPilot
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:28 am

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
 
2H4
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:43 am




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


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KELPkid
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 9:25 am

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.
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:43 pm

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.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:50 pm

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
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Turning On Runway Lights Via. Mic.

Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:23 pm

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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