Saturday, August 05, 2006


Very hazy day to fly today. My friend Gil and I flew to BHS this morning, but the ceiling was too low at BHS to fly sailplanes so we immediately returned to MB.

Prior to leaving this morning, we discovered that our rotating beacon was not working. A quick review of the FARs seemed to say that the rotating beacon was required equipment for VFR day flight, so we replaced the light prior to departing - probably delayed us for 45 minutes or so. I believe the FARs only allow a pilot to fly an aircraft with a non-functioning beacon to a facility for repairs.

Anyone know for sure whether the rotating beacon was required to be operational for our day VFR flight?


At 9:44 PM, September 26, 2006, Anonymous Harry Arthur said...

FAR 91.209 Aircraft Lights. No person may: ...(b) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollison light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.

The exception is for those conditions, such as actual IMC, where operation of an anticollision light system might induce vertigo or other illusions in the pilot, causing an unsafe condition.

Bottom line is if the aircraft is equipped with an anticollision light system it has to work and generally, with few exceptions, be turned on.

FAR 91.213 provides for the use of an approved MEL for certain types of inoperative equipment. This likely doesn't apply in your case. FAR 91.215 allows you, with permission from "the Administrator" to fly an airplane without a functional transponder in airspace normally requiring a transponder for the purpose of getting it to a facility for repairs. I do not know of a similar provision for an anticollision light system, though I may be mistaken.

My experience is 25 years as an Army aviator, standardization instructor and instrument flight examiner and 12 years experience with commercial airlines as a crewmember, ground instructor and currently director of training for a wide body international cargo airline.

Hope that helps answer the question.


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