Flight personnel familiar with the standards can readily interpret the lighting aids at any
An airfield lighting system consists of runway lighting and other lighting aids along with
their controls and power supplies. This section addresses the major lighting aids that
could be installed to support an airport's mission.
Procedures for the operation of airport lighting are in Air Traffic Control (ATC) FAA
Order 7110.65. Operation of airport lighting at controlled airports is normally the
responsibility of the tower. When the airfield is closed, all associated lighting is shut
down with the following exceptions:
Navigable airspace obstruction lights as outlined in Federal Aviation Regulation
(FAR), Part 77, that are not associated with the closed airport
Rotating beacons if used as navigation reference points or visual landmarks
Since the airport lighting system is controlled from the tower, you must know how and
when to operate the various components. You might think that you turn everything on at
sunset and off at sunrise, but that is not the case.
The aeronautical beacon is a visual aid. Beacons indicate the location of an airport, a
landmark, a hazard, or an obstruction to air navigation. The principal light in a beacon
rotates or flashes and is of relatively high intensity.
The color or color combination displayed by a particular beacon indicates whether the
beacon marks a landing place, a landmark, a hazard, or an obstruction. The common
types of beacons are the airport rotating beacon, the identification or code beacon, and
the hazard or obstruction beacons.
Airport Rotating Beacons
Airport rotating beacons and identification/code beacons are usually used at airfields
lighted for flight operations at night. Each lighted Navy airfield, except where one
rotating beacon serves more than one airfield in close proximity or for auxiliary landing
fields must use high intensity military type beacons. Table 4-2 contains pertinent facts
about airport rotating beacons: