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Features March 2019 Issue

Ceiling and Visibility

Ceiling and Visibility

Little has a more significant impact on our ability to depart and land in instrument conditions than the ceiling and visibility. Letís take a deep look.

These early pilots depended on a network of rotating beacon towers at four-mile intervals, like lighthouses in the sky. These facilities, operated by the federal government, used lamps powered by cylinders of acetylene. Simply by following the route from beacon to beacon, a pilot could arrive safely at the destination. Weather could be avoided because the planes flew at low altitudes, and illuminated diversion airfields were placed at frequent intervals. If the pilot felt things were deteriorating, he could be on the ground in less than 10 minutes.

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