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Shining a Light on SAN’s New Beacon

Monday, March 7, 2022

SAN has a new beacon shining bright on our runway. The newly installed beacon replaces an older beacon that was in service for 30 years. This brightly orange-colored rotating beacon projects 22 to 26 white and green light flashes per minute, offering a simple and effective backup navigation solution for pilots to locate San Diego International Airport (SAN) in the dark or during inclement weather. 

Beacons at airports are still required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a backup for pilots during bad weather or if an aircraft's GPS fails. Air traffic controllers are required by the FAA to turn on the rotating beacon between sunset and sunrise, and during daylight when the reported ceiling and visibility is less than three miles or 1,000 feet.

On February 25, a team of two Airport Authority employees, four electricians from Neal Electric, and two employees from Crane Company oversaw the exchange of the old for the new beacon. A crane and boom lift were used to remove our old beacon and hoist a new 801 series rotating beacon, coated in Aviation Gloss Orange, in its place. The old beacon was sent back to the manufacturer so that it can be mostly likely refurbished and sold.

Sneak a peek of the new beacon as you are driving by, landing, or taking off at SAN.