The Hershey Medical Center Heliport has a white-red-green beacon as opposed to a normal heliport white-yellow-green beacon. How is this allowed?

  • $\begingroup$ Good question. A search of AirNav.com shows that it is the only one in the US with those colors. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe they're decorating for Christmas? :P $\endgroup$
    – Jeff B
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 23:36

1 Answer 1


The lighting for private heliports is not regulated by the FAA, but by the individual states. The FAA has an Advisory Circular laying out guidelines for heliports, but it is only a recommendation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends the specifications
contained in this AC for all applica tions involving development of this natu re. In general, use of this AC is not mandatory.

From FAA AC 150/5345-12F: Specification for Airport and Heliport Beacons

It is only regulatory when the heliport is built using federal funds. In the AC they recommend the white/green/yellow pattern.

Only a couple of states have adopted the FAA guidelines as regulatory.

The state of Pennsylvania incorporates many of the FAA Advisory Circulars in their state law. For example the ground markings and the lighting for the perimeter of the landing and takeoff area for the heliport are required to adhere to the appropriate FAA AC's. But in regards to the beacon it simply states:

A rotating beacon is recommended to be installed for night operations at public heliports.

Pa Code § 471, Appendix A, Criteria I, i)

It does not even have that recommendation listed for private heliports.

Although it is not in the FAA Advisory Circular some places list the beacon color code for hospital heliports as white/green/red. I can't find anything authoritative on this but examples are at an aviation wiki, on Quora and on airliners.net.

This company that sells heliport beacons indicates that their beacon is "Available in Hospital Heliport version (not FAA certifiable)." It doesn't indicate, but this is likely a white/green/red version. And since it doesn't adhere to the Advisory Circular it isn't FAA certifiable.

  • $\begingroup$ The AIM 13. Airport/Heliport Beacons has the colors for different types. 13.2.5 Green, Yellow, and White−Lighted heliport. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry AIM 13? $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ AIM = Aeronautical Information Manual faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/media/AIM.pdf $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry It's not the AIM part I'm confused about. It's the chapter 13 part.. There are only 10 chapters $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 21:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So, basically, it sounds like most, if not all federal jurisdiction over aerodrome regulations is tied to the money. A very common way for the US Govt to get around the elastic clause in the constitution. If you don't take federal money you don't have to comply with federal regulations. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 17:21

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