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michal

Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and approach lights .....

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He, he, I needed some catchy title ;-)Anyone watched the movie (now about 10 year old) with those two actors titled Heat?I just watched it with my son and the last 5 minutes or so of this fairly violent movie is shot at LAX, right next to the row of approach lights to one of the runways. Al Pacino (the good) finally shoots and kills Robert De Niro (the bad) while playing a little cat-and-mouse game in between some ILS ground instrumentation. The planes keep on landing while these two stalk one another. What I noticed and what bothers me is that approach light intensity seems to be crancked up to maximum when an airplane seems to be a minute or so before touchdown and then substantially reduced after it actually landed. Is it what happens in real life? I would think the approach lights would stay at the same intensity throughout a longer period rather than having some operator trying to save some electricity adjusting them every few minutes. I watched the scene a few times and there are at least 2 planes landing and I made sure the additional light intensity comes from the ground lights and not aircraft's landing lights which pass over very quickly. Anyway, I wonder if anyone would have some insights.Michael J.WinXP-Home SP2,AMD64 3500+,Abit AV8,Radeon X800Pro,36GB Raptor,1GB PC3200,Audigy 2

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The tower will turn runway and approach lights up and down as needed. Usually, they keep them low until somebody is coming in then they will turn it up. They control it right there in the tower.

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A now retired Austrian Airlines captain, he flew DC9s, the MD80 series and A310s amongst others, once told me, that appoach lights have their highest intensity, when the appoaching airplanes are still further out and will then be dimmed allready before landing, in order not to blind the pilots. I guess all this will also depend on visibility.Wolfgang

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Michael,It's been a looong time since I saw that film, but I recall the scene.It was a true "Hollywood" interpretation of real life. You'll notice that the lighting played into the drama of one man searching for another. Quite easy to spot someone when the lights were on high, then difficult when on low. Made for a great hide-and-seek thriller at the end of the movie.I've spotted very near where that scene was shot (rwys 24L,R) and the lights do not change intensity. They stay the same intensity until the tower changes them. BTW, that area is much different today and you would not be able to recognize the scene from the movie.Bruce

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I don't think these guys would be able to run into the airport ground so easily. No fence, nothing, a joke. Even before 9/11 it sounds far fetched. But based on what Kevin said the tower does adjust intensity of those lights (and lowers it in between arrivals) which makes sense since they probably consume huge amount of electricity. But like you said - you spotted there and did not see any variation. Maybe they do it only when workload allows. Thanks for your input.Michael J.WinXP-Home SP2,AMD64 3500+,Abit AV8,Radeon X800Pro,36GB Raptor,1GB PC3200,Audigy 2

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