Frequently Asked Questions

What does an airport’s rotating beacon operated during daylight hours indicate?

When an airport located in Class D airspace is running its beacon during daylight hours it indicates that the weather is less than VFR minimums (Less than 3 SM or the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet.).

Are rotating beacons always supposed to run at airports?

Rotating beacons help indicate the location of the airport to pilots in the air.  The rotating beacon should be running at night or when ground visibility is below VFR minimums during the day.

Are rotating beacons required on airports by the FAA?

Yes, rotating beacons are required and must meet very specific specifications as to the color, flash duration, and light intensity among many other requirements.  You may see the requirements by viewing the Specification For Airport and Heliport Beacons document from the FAA.

Are small airports required to have a rotating beacon?

All airports with runway edge lights and heliports are required to have a rotating airport beacon.  The color of the beacon indicates what type of airport it is.

  • A flashing white and green beacon indicates a civilian airport on land.
  • A flashing white an yellow beacon indicates a water airport.
  • A flashing white, yellow, and green beacon indicates a heliport.
  • A beacon emitting two quick white flashes alternating with a green flash is for a military airport.

Do heliports need a rotating beacon?

AC 150/5390-2C covers heliport design and requires heliports to be indicated by a white, yellow, and green flashing beacon.

How long has the Eiffel tower had a rotating beacon?

The Eiffel Tower had a lighthouse when it was originally constructed in 1889.  However, on Dec. 31, 1999 the tower was fitted with a new rotating beacon powered by xenon 6000 watt lamps.

What type of beacon do I need at my airport?

Per AC 150/5340-30J The L-802A rotating beacon is the standard high intensity rotating beacon and is installed at all airports where high intensity lighting systems are used.

Do I need a rotating beacon at my airport?

Per AC 150/5340-30J The L-802A rotating beacon is the standard high intensity rotating beacon and is installed at all airports where high intensity lighting systems are used.

Do I need a rotating beacon at my airport?

Per AC 150/5300-13A Airport rotating beacons are required for any airport with runway edge lights.

When do I need a supplemental wind cone?

Per AC150/5340-30J If a primary wind cone is not visible to pilots on approach and takeoff at each runway end, supplemental wind cone(s) must be provided.