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Airport beacons

Old 3rd Jul 2010, 14:28
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Airport beacons

I live about 2 miles from Southend airport and when we moved in, many years ago, a rotating green/white beacon was clearly visible on most nights.

Now it's not there anymore, and hasn't been for some time. Is this a general airport thing, perhaps as a result of improved navaids, or are there still some in use elsewhere?
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 17:20
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Ours is well and truly in use. It used to be white, flashing a two-letter morse ident. It has recently been changed to green for (civil) compliance.
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 17:47
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Southend has a white flashing (rotating) aerodrome beacon (as opposed to an ident beacon) and has had for years - not green/white.

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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 19:07
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If it has gone it almost certainly won't be replaced for the reasons you state -improved nav aids on the ground and also improved technology in aeroplanes, they're also very costly to repair.

Very few civil airports have them now, although I believe the military do keep them going at some airfields where the based aircraft aren't grey, pointy and go everywhere at 400kts.
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 19:57
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That's interesting 2s - must be low power or located away from the original site - there's not a trace of it at my location.

The alternating green/white one was in operation when we moved in in 1959 and ran for many years with the beam at around 35 I would guess.
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Old 3rd Jul 2010, 20:52
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I seem to remember from when I was there in December that Leeds Bradford has got one on the Multiflight side of the field.
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Old 4th Jul 2010, 04:54
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For civil airports, an 'Aerodrome Beacon' is either flashing alternate white/green OR may be a white strobe light where there is no risk of confusion between airports (s'funny but both Blackbushe and Fairoaks have white strobes and they're not too far apart as the Cessna flys) whilst an 'Identification Beacon' flashes the code letters for the airfield (not necessarily the ICAO letters)in morse code and is coloured green only. A list of these is published in the AIP.
At Military airfields the ident beacon flashes red.
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Old 4th Jul 2010, 06:50
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I believe the green "LH" beacon, located on Beacon Road, south of the old intersection between 05R and 33L, has long gone. One of the past DCATCOs at Heathrow always used to ask about it during Aerodrome validation boards... "You've driven round the airfield?".. "Yes".... did you notice anything particular on the southside?".. "Er.... the green beacon flashing LH?" "Ah yes.... very good". Tick!
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Old 4th Jul 2010, 15:27
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Years ago Stansted had a white rotating jobber. A pain in the eyeballs when trying to get some kip on a night shift. I remember a Channel Airways Comet (that dates me) calling up for the weather and reporting "Field in sight". As he wasn't due for some time I asked where he was. "Overhead Zurich, FL360" or some such high level. To which I replied, "Report downwind lefthand for 23". It was a crystal clear winters night. Apparently he could also see the Cambridge beacon. Happy days.
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Old 4th Jul 2010, 19:18
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At civilian airfields, the ident beacon will flash the morse for the predominat instrument approach facility, i.e. if the airfield has an ILS the beacon will flash I - xx, if has an NDB it will flash the code for that e.g for Southend "SND", if there is no instrument approach it will broadcast the ICAO three letter code, i.e HUY.

As I said, these things are incredibly ancient and inefficient, most are a mass of flurescent tubes and very expensive to maintain, consequently when they conk out they go to wherever they go to die.
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Old 4th Jul 2010, 19:39
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Niknak

Where on earth did you get that information from? And what is an ICAO 3-letter code?

And quite a few civil aerodromes still have ident beacons - Southend's is an exception.

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Old 4th Jul 2010, 21:16
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Southends beacon is very much old, but alive and kicking. Its located on the Northern boundary next to the Golf course. It can be seen mid-channel on a good day/night.

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Old 5th Jul 2010, 10:29
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Niknak you're talking rubbish! Ident beacons whether civil or miltary ONLY flash a 2-letter morse ident which in many cases bears no relationship to the 4-letter ICAO code OR the 3-letter IATA code OR the iap facility code!
However, the ident beacon will flash the same letters as the two in the airfield signals square.
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Old 5th Jul 2010, 11:36
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Thanks for some interesting replies chaps.

The information from Barnaby prompted me to spend several minutes last night looking for a beacon, but nothing seen. I'm roughly NW of the field at around 2 miles, so thought it should be visible.
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Old 5th Jul 2010, 12:47
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flash a 2-letter morse ident
I can recall showing a group of civilian visitors around ATC at RAF Linton-On-Ouse one evening in the mid seventies. Explaining the purpose of the red "Pundit", I mentioned how it flashed LO, LO, LO.

One lady in the group was heard to comment "Oh how friendly!"
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Old 5th Jul 2010, 13:45
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frostbite, the beacon is below the tree line, so from the North/Northwest on the ground it would be difficult to see. From the air it is very visible.
On Hazy/misty evenings you can see the glow from the rotating beacon.

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Old 5th Jul 2010, 19:27
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Niknak you're talking rubbish!
OK, I'll bite.
at all the UK civil airfields I've worked at (four) all the ident beacons flashed the 3 letter ident code for the ILS or NDB or VOR.
I didn't mention any four letter codes.

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Old 5th Jul 2010, 19:37
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But you did mention
ICAO three letter code, i.e HUY.
which is incorrect. ICAO codes are four letters, i.e. EGNJ.
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Old 5th Jul 2010, 20:21
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Niknak

No need to be rude. Could you, perchance, name just two of these alleged aerodromes with ILS codes on the ident beacon?

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Old 5th Jul 2010, 20:31
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Waterdromes had Yellow station identification beacons (pundits) ... the last one I knew of was Lee on Solent.

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