You are flying along in a rental J-3; you have a battery-operated radio with the battery located under the pilot’s seat. It was fun to be alone in the airplane on a long final when the RADIO QUIT. You could either fish around under the seat while trying to keep the airplane upright, or just keep coming and let the tower figure out you were NORDO (If it is necessary for a flight to cross the airport prior to joining crosswind, this should be done at least 500 feet above circuit height, and descent to circuit height should be made in the upwind area of the active runway).
If the failure happened far enough
out, the accepted practice would be to enter on a right 45 and rock your wings
periodically. But you were not far out to do any wing rocking, but on the other
hand, lets suppose you were transmit only and knew it going in. You made one
transmission advising the tower of your predicament and location, then circled
just above the class D airspace until they had time to sequence you in with
those light signals. So the PUN to this story is: “ if you know what those
lights are and you know what they mean, you will be able to thank the controller
for the special handling”, you just might surprise the controller with you
special knowledge of ATC Light Signals.
Traffic control: Traffic cop or ATC (Air Traffic Control), both deal with a service, and both are charged with the authority to promote the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic. In either case before the lights came along drivers handled their intentions with hand signals. Pilots handled their intentions with signals such as wing tipping, or like one flyer who yelled from the cockpit of his plane to get attention.
ATC Light Signals
|Color and type of signal||For aircraft on the surface||For aircraft in flight|
|Steady green||Cleared for take off.||Cleared to land.|
|Flashing green||Cleared to taxi.||Return for landing (to|
|be followed by steady green|
|at proper time)|
|Steady red||Stop||Give way to other aircraft and|
|Flashing red||Taxi clear of runway in use.||Airport unsafe—do not land.|
|Flashing white||Return to starting point on||Not applicable.|
|Alternating red and green||Exercise extreme caution.||Exercise extreme caution.|
segment of Advance FS Techniques deals with the use of A hand held directional
light signaling device which emits a brilliant narrow beam of white, green, or
red light as selected by the tower controller.
The color and type of light transmitted can be used to approve or
disapprove anticipated pilot actions where radio communication is not available.
The light gun is used for controlling traffic operating in the vicinity
of the airport and on the airport movement area. Signals by the tower controller in the case of lost radio
communications. In case of the occurrence of an inoperable radio or lost
communication with the tower, you must understand light gun signals that the
tower will flash.
Here are 15 questions to test your knowledge; question 15 is a Bonus question. May the Lights be with You.
A is taxing, aircraft B is continually circling, what color light signals?
A green B
B flashing red.
flashing green B steady red.
Runner Ray was taxing and did not see the flashing red signal, should he have
returned to the starting
red light, a pilot should:
to other aircraft and continue circling.
green, cleared to:
on approach, see flashing white light, what should you do?
clear of runway
a and b
the Captain of BlueSky 747, heading is 301’, VS “0”, KIAS “0”, you are
ground waiting to return to starting point as result of flashing white light.
for clearance to taxi.
as result of steady red light.
ground, flashing red light, aircraft should be:
clear of runway in use
the ground, steady red
light, aircraft should be stopped.
ground, steady green, aircraft cleared to land.
extreme caution applies to pilots:
the white light because it does not apply to them.
attention to the alternating red and green light.
provides a service charged with the authority to send light signals to aircraft
on the surface and in flight where applicable.
radio fails far enough out, what is the accepted practice?
45’ and rock the airplane’s wings.
just below class D airspace.
a right 45 and rock the wings.
radio quits, you keep flying the airplane upright.
If it is
necessary for a flight to cross the airport prior to joining upwind, this should
be done at least 500 feet above circuit height, and descent to circuit height
should be made in the upwind area of the active runway.
it is necessary for a flight to cross the airport prior to joining crosswind,
this should be done at least 500 feet above circuit height, and descent to
circuit height should be made in the downwind area of the active runway.
If it is
necessary for a flight to cross the airport prior to joining crosswind, this
should be done at least 500 feet above circuit height, and descent to circuit
height should be made in the upwind area of the active runway.
of the above
captain in bluesky 747 at St. Louis Lambert Intl. Airport in position at rwy
30L, a 777 is on approach To rwy 30L, a WestWind b1900 is setting up to follow
tower light signal direction, flashing green light, a 737 was just given
clearance to follow direction of steady green light for rwy 30R, when all of
sudden an Airbus-380 in trouble is given light signal directions to land, rwy
12R. Assign appropriate (new) light signals to each of the aircrafts listed
above, or below a) b) c) d) e).
aviator yelled from the cockpit of his plane and wanted to know the directions
Hint, the aircraft max speed was 208km/hr, the engine: a 223 hp WW J-5
Here are the
14a-flashing red 14b-steady red 14c-steady
red 14d-flashing red
14e-steady green alternating red and green
15. Charles Augustus Lindbergh
NOT TO BE USED IN REAL WORLD FLIGHT. NO PARTS OF THIS ARTICLE MAY BE REPRINTED WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR.
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