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TOPIC: ...outer circle of airfield lighting...

...outer circle of airfield lighting... 01 Feb 2016 13:34 #31

  • Carnaby
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I still can't help thinking that adding a heater to a light would have the same effect as the person who stands on the deck of a ship and, wanting to take a picture of the port they've just left, leans over the edge to get a foot closer to the land - which is now two hundred yards away.

Tilstock was the airfield who invented the sodium-light triangle on the control tower roof. They informed the Air Ministry who were initially unimpressed, then later changed their mind. The feature was added to a number of aerodromes - particularly those which tended to suffer from industrial smoke haze in daylight conditions. It would certainly assist inexperienced (e.g. OTU) pilots and navigators. From your comment, it seems the triangle became a square (possibly both in use to avoid confusion?)
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Plan A is always more effective when the problem you are working on understands that Plan B will involve the use of dynamite :twisted:.

...outer circle of airfield lighting... 01 Feb 2016 17:14 #32

  • CapJon
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I agree with you that heaters are likely to have been of doubtful value in practice and if they had we would be using them today.
Interesting that we stilll use the phrase today of going over the beacon', 'beacon inbound' and 'beacon outbound' today when using radio aids for let downs. I wonder if this came from having Sandra lights and these tower lights.

The basis of any non precision approach (VDF, NDB ) is to first find the overhead and then let down in a tear drop pattern and turn inbound to establish beacon inbound. The problem with lights in fog is that they can only possibly pinpoint the overhead, once you go outbound they are of no use and the same for the inbound turn. The problem then becomes finding the airfield and approach lights and in a visibility of 1000 yards this is very difficult to do especially if there is any crosswind on final approach.

In regard to finding the overhead in the 70s in CAP 413 for a VDF let down there was a call "Engines Overhead" which ATC passed to the pilot when he was in the 'null' area of the signal

There are comments in the Lichfield ORB about an American pilot stating how useful the control tower roof sodium lights had been in locating the airfield in low vis conditions.

There is an appendix in the ORB dedicated to Flying Control at Lichfield. it's quite lengthy-have any other ORB's got a similar appendix?

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