Does anyone know what the little “shell” like symbol on the taxi diagram is, under the 2239? Also, what do the little “P”s stand for? One is bolded and the other is not.

The 'shell' and the two 'P's are marked with red arrows in this diagram:

BCB Approach Plate

I’ve scoured FAA guides trying to locate what it could be, but so far, no luck.

Any help is appreciated!

  • $\begingroup$ Somewhere in here perhaps faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/… $\endgroup$
    – Steve Kuo
    Sep 9, 2018 at 4:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please add a screenshot unless its forbidden by the copyright holder. Judging by link it may not be there that long! If not a quick MS paint renduring would suffice. $\endgroup$
    – Bageletas
    Sep 9, 2018 at 5:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Bageletas -- it's a FAA/NACO approach plate, so it's a US federal gov't work = no copyright to begin with $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2018 at 19:20

1 Answer 1


What you want is the Frontmatter to the Terminal Procedures Publication, and in particular the pages under "Approach Lighting System" -- these document all the various permutations of visual approach aids found in the US NAS.

As to the symbols you are specifically asking about -- the "shell" is the standard symbol for an ODALS (OmniDirectional Approach Lighting System) that consists of two steady burning lights at each side of the runway threshold and five sequenced flashers leading down the extended runway centerline for 1500'. The two circled "P"s are also standard symbols, but for PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator) lights -- a set of four bicolor (red/white) lights that sit beside the runway and are aimed so that you can see if you're above, on, or below the glidepath based on the combination of red and white lights you see.

As to the symbols being reverse (not boldened)? That means that those lights are hooked up to a PCL (Pilot Controlled Lighting) box that listens for sequences of microphone clicks on the airport control frequency (UNICOM/CTAF, or tower for a part-time towered airport) and turns on the lights hooked up to it for a set period of time when a suitable sequence is given by a pilot.


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.