seb146
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Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:09 am

The rotating green and white atop some control towers or simply those that stand alone? With ATC and sensitive GPS and computers, do airplanes still need those beacons?
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
jetblueguy22
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:39 am

Makes it a little easier to spot when on a visual....but I'm also not flying airliners around with advanced electronics.

Plus, in comparison to other navaids, they're cheap to operate. No use taking down something as simple as that to save a few hundred bucks a year.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
seb146
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:11 am

jetblueguy22 wrote:
Makes it a little easier to spot when on a visual....but I'm also not flying airliners around with advanced electronics.

Plus, in comparison to other navaids, they're cheap to operate. No use taking down something as simple as that to save a few hundred bucks a year.


I am not a pilot so I have to ask. I have flown into PDT once on QX many years ago. There are navaids and lights at the end of the runways and they still have their beacon.

I know it is great for small airports but why for SFO or LAX or SEA?
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
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pwm2txlhopper
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:24 am

Still a lot of GA aircraft flying around that don't have GPS and glass cockpits. The beacon is very distinct. When flying over a major city at night on an airliner, the beacon is always very recognizable even though it's surrounded by a sea of city lights. Even when you're six miles high, you can still make out the distinct beacon for civil mand military airfields. Even when you can't make out the runway lights.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:06 pm

This may shock people, but it’s still possible to look out the windows to fly an airplane, be it a genuine Piper Cub or a 747. And land it that way, too.

GF
 
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JBo
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:49 pm

I would argue that the airport beacon is still fundamentally important, because even WITH all the fancy electronics we have now, visual reference is still important. It's still important to have something that helps you identify the location of an airfield in the unlikely event that all the fancy electronics fail.

They're also helpful in identifying helipads in densely urban areas, and the color combination of the beacon light tells you whether an airfield is an airport, heliport, civil, or military.

What I'm curious to see is how long it'll be before LED airport beacons are certified into use.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
seb146
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:08 pm

Very good points being brought up. Thanks to you all.

As far as LEDs go, I don't know if that will happen. The glow seems different. There are LED street lights and LED tail lights on cars. The glow just seems off. Maybe I am not used to them? It will still probably be a while before they are certified.
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
kabq737
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:20 am

YES!!!

I fly an airplane with dual Garmin GPS, and lots of other goodies and I still use the beacons frequently. They’re quite helpful on a moonless New Mexico night.
Been on: 320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 738, 739, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, MD83, MD88, MD90, E70, E75, E90, TRIM
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spacecadet
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:19 am

seb146 wrote:
I am not a pilot so I have to ask. I have flown into PDT once on QX many years ago. There are navaids and lights at the end of the runways and they still have their beacon.


You can't see the lights at the end of the runways when you're coming in perpendicular to them, as you typically would be in a standard pattern. (You either overfly them at 90 degrees or enter the pattern at 45.) An airport at night from the side looks pretty much like any other random collection of city lights. So yes, airport beacons are still important, and always will be.

Of course there's radio and GPS navigation now too, but what do you do if and when that stuff fails? Or if you're not rated for it? There's such a thing as VFR night flights. The whole point of VFR is that you look out the window rather than staring at your instruments.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
LH707330
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:38 pm

spacecadet wrote:
seb146 wrote:
I am not a pilot so I have to ask. I have flown into PDT once on QX many years ago. There are navaids and lights at the end of the runways and they still have their beacon.


You can't see the lights at the end of the runways when you're coming in perpendicular to them, as you typically would be in a standard pattern. (You either overfly them at 90 degrees or enter the pattern at 45.) An airport at night from the side looks pretty much like any other random collection of city lights. So yes, airport beacons are still important, and always will be.

Of course there's radio and GPS navigation now too, but what do you do if and when that stuff fails? Or if you're not rated for it? There's such a thing as VFR night flights. The whole point of VFR is that you look out the window rather than staring at your instruments.

100% this. I've flown night instrument approaches with 20-degree offsets in urban areas, you always see the beacon way before the runway lights.
 
thepinkmachine
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:07 pm

Same here. Unfortunately, there’s very few beacons outside of the US and visually identifying the airport at night can be tricky, especially if you don’t know where to look fo it.

I have always wondered why such a simple and cheap solution as the beacon wasn’t adapted as a worldwide standard...

So, the bottom line is:
- are the beacons necessary? No
- are they still useful? Yes
 
arcticcruiser
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:26 pm

seb146 wrote:
Very good points being brought up. Thanks to you all.

As far as LEDs go, I don't know if that will happen. The glow seems different. There are LED street lights and LED tail lights on cars. The glow just seems off. Maybe I am not used to them? It will still probably be a while before they are certified.


I´m with you there. I really dislike LED runway lighting.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:29 pm

Especially for EFVS users
 
spudsmac
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:28 pm

I still use airport beacons for orientation when flying general aviation and at the airlines. Airports are surprisingly hard to pick out at night, especially when some roads are aligned with and lit brighter than runways.
 
kabq737
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Re: Do We Still Need Airport Beacons?

Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:52 am

arcticcruiser wrote:
seb146 wrote:
Very good points being brought up. Thanks to you all.

As far as LEDs go, I don't know if that will happen. The glow seems different. There are LED street lights and LED tail lights on cars. The glow just seems off. Maybe I am not used to them? It will still probably be a while before they are certified.


I´m with you there. I really dislike LED runway lighting.

Strongly agree. They’re intense when nearby but for some reason I find LED lights harder to use at a distance. The color seems off too.
Been on: 320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 738, 739, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, MD83, MD88, MD90, E70, E75, E90, TRIM
Flown: SEEKER, C150M C172N, C172R, C172S, C182RG, DA40, PA-46
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