Friday, November 03, 2006

Here's another "Did you know?"

Did you know that there are many smaller airports out there with "pilot controlled lighting?" This means that the lights are turned off when everyone goes home at night, but if someone decides they want to land at said airport, they can turn the runway and taxiway lights back on so they can operate safely. Sometimes this feature is helpful when trying to FIND the runway. It's an amazing thing on a dark night to watch an airport light up in the darkness.

The way the pilots do this is to tune up a designated frequency on their radio and then key the mike (break squelch, push the doohickey, etc.) for seven times rapidly. After the lights come on they can key the mike three or five times to decrease the brightness of the lights. After 15 minutes, the lights go back off--to save electricity! Most people recommend pilots rekey their mike when coming in on an approach, thereby reseting the timer--to avoid having the lights go off right as they're getting ready to land....

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