You must fully understand the function of the various airfield lights including the rotating beacon and the
blue, white, green, amber, and red lights, or you will jeopardize your safety and the safety of others (Figure
Runway End Lights
Both Sides (White)
White Centerline Lights
Every 1,000 ft
(Yellow on Black)
(Red, Three Sets,
Arresting Gear Signs
(Black on Yellow,
Figure 31: AIRFIELD LIGHTING
The rotating beacon, normally situated near the control tower, marks the airfield. It operates from sunset
to sunrise and during periods when the field is in IFR conditions. All rotating beacons (military and civilian)
are green and white; however, the military beacon uses a split white beam while the civilian beacon uses a
single white beam.
Blue lights mark the sides of the taxiway and the edges of the mat areas and, in pairs, all taxiway
entrances and exits. Green lights mark the taxiway centerline as well as the runway threshold.
White lights define a variety of airfield features. They mark both sides of the active runway and, when
theyre installed, the runway centerline. White lights that flash twice per second mark the threshold.
Additionally, white lights illuminate arresting gear arrows, wind tees/socks, and runway distance remaining
(in thousands of feet) markers. Runway approach lighting is also white, and depending on the
configuration, there may also be sequencing strobe lights.
Amber lights identify temporary ramp obstructions, such as construction work. Mobile ground support
equipment may also be called out by flashing amber lights.