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!

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    $\begingroup$ when did you "hear" it? where? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 23, 2016 at 6:17
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    $\begingroup$ 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
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    $\begingroup$ 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
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    $\begingroup$ 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
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    $\begingroup$ @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.

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    $\begingroup$ 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

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