This past Saturday I was taking off from runway 22 at Catalina Airport (IATA: AVX) when I heard on radio a GA pilot requesting the tower to turn off VASI after requesting weather advisory. I did not know if that airplane was on ground or in air.

As the clouds were gathering over and I am not an IFR pilot, I was concentrating on the fast moving clouds. After a while he asked for VASI to be turned back on.

I wonder why did that GA pilot ask to turn off VASI and get them turned on shortly afterwards?

On a side note, I got lucky and saw the giant Shuttle fuel tank being towed down below near LA Forum to LA Science museum; took some pictures!

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ when did you "hear" it? where? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 23, 2016 at 6:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was landing a few weeks ago right on dusk and the tower asked me if the VASI was too bright for me (it wasn't). I wondered if he was just making fun of me for complaining about the sun glare a few minutes earlier... $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    May 23, 2016 at 9:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ My first thought was perhaps they were doing instrument training and the VASI and Glide Slope were not coincident. I've never done it but it's all I could think of. Would need more info to form a better guess. Did the runway in question have an ILS? $\endgroup$
    – user15058
    May 23, 2016 at 15:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ On 25R KDAB, just before the approach end of the runway is a road, and before that a cemetery. I know an instructor who told his student during short final - "You're so low that I can read the names on the gravestones". $\endgroup$
    – RaajTram
    Jul 30, 2016 at 4:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SMSvonderTann na :) $\endgroup$
    – RaajTram
    Jul 31, 2016 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


It could have been a flight instructor with a student that was becoming too reliant on the VASI's slope information for visual approaches to landing, and he wanted to force the student to do without.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why not just take the student out to a dirt strip if you want to practice bush landings? OK, convenience maybe (in a densely-populated area you might have to fly for hours to get to an unpaved strip with just a windsock that'll let you touch and go). $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Aug 3, 2016 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ To answer that pragmatically, it could be as simple as the instructor not feeling comfortable with the student landing on a soft field yet. $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2019 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithS The flight school (or more likely, its’ insurance company) may prohibit landing on unpaved fields. And in US metro areas, there may not be any public dirt strips anyway. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Mar 9, 2021 at 21:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.