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3 Answers

Do I really need a marker beacon now days?

Asked by: 2883 views Instrument Rating

I am about to start my instrument training and trying to make sure my plane is well enough equipped for the approaches that I will typically plan to fly. I am not interested in spending gobs of money on GPS.  Here is my current list of equipment. KX155 with KI-209 glideslope KX170b with KI-208. KN64 DME Mode C transponder Ipad with geo-referenced approach plates. I don't have an audio panel (just a few switches and an old King stand alone marker beacon that I would have to rewire and it would have to go on the co-pilot panel somewhere..   Do I really need to even bother with the marker beacon?   All airports I plan to fly to have either or all of ILS, LOC, VOR and VOR/DME approaches. I have no interest in flying single engine down to minimums, so Category2 is not needed.  In fact, I would rather not fly at all if MVFR, even if I'm on an instrument plan.  I just want to be able to get up through a layer for enroute flight.   Thank you for your advice! Craig  

3 Answers

  1. John D Collins on Oct 30, 2015

    A marker beacon is optional. Many have been decommissioned and on most approaches that have them, there are other means of determining your position. You just need to evaluate any approach to make sure that your aircraft is equipped to meet the equipment requirements of any approach you intend to fly.

    Today, most of the utility of the system is based on GPS, so without an IFR GPS, your routes will be longer and many airports are only served by GPS based procedures. Without an ADF or GPS, you are going to have to be careful in evaluating which procedures you can fly.

    Although you can successfully train using the prior centuries equipment and obtain your IFR rating, I would not recommend it. An IFR GPS would be on my recommended equipment list.

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  2. Russ Roslewski on Oct 30, 2015

    I typed this up then saw that John had already answered, but no sense in letting it go to waste…

    I do agree with John about the utility of an IFR GPS. But from a purely legal and functional standpoint, assuming you’re in the U.S.:

    I think with a DME and a second NAV radio, you will be just fine without a marker beacon receiver.

    To break it down:
    – Marker beacons are not required to fly an ILS
    – Marker beacons are not typically used on a VOR approach (though I think the provision exists, it’s barely ever implemented in procedure design – I’d love to find an example)
    – So the only thing you’d have to be concerned about are LOC procedures – either stand-alone LOC-only procedures or using the LOC-only portion of an ILS procedure. However, as you have DME and a second NAV radio, this would only be a problem if the Final Approach Fix could ONLY be identified by an OM. Most have alternate means as well, like DME or a crossing radial. Depends where you are located, but I looked at about 10 or 15 approaches in my area and only one actually required a marker beacon receiver to fly the approach.

    You comment about “Cat II” approaches is misguided, assuming you’re flying a typical light aircraft – Cat II approaches require more equipment than is normal on these planes – like a radar altimeter – and additional training and certification.

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  3. Craig Brownlee on Nov 02, 2015

    Thank you both very much. Although one of the alternate airports in my area has a LOC approach, DME or Radar are required. This airport also has a VOR/DME approach.

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