Inoperative Rotating Beacon

by Paul
(Pensacola, FL USA)

I fly a 1968 Cessna 206, which has an operable white strobe light system installed on the wing tips and tail cone. I have been reading FAR Part 91.205(c), and FAR Parts 23.1389, 1397, and 1401.


The red beacon is written up as inoperative and signed off as " does not affect the airworthiness..." and is now in the deferred status.

As we know there are times on the ground and in the air that the white strobes present problems, which makes me believe the red rotating beacon is there for a reason.

Since the aircraft was originally certified with a red rotating beacon mounted on the top of the tail, does that red rotating beacon need to work or can the aircraft continue to operate with it broken?


ANSWER: The aircraft was designed with a red rotating becon (anti-collision light) installed on the top of the vertical stabilzer. This is part of the type design of the aircraft. To be considered airworthy (by the FAA’s definition) the aircraft must (1) meet its type design and (2) be in a condition for safe operation.

In my opinion that makes the installed rotating beacon required. Even though you have strobe lights. Having said that -

FAR 91.205(c)(3) states in part that for visual flight rules at night, the aircraft must have an approved aviation red or white anticollision light system that is operable. In the event of failure of any light of the anticollision light system, operations with the aircraft may be continued to a stop where repairs or replacement can be made.

You are required to have an operable anti colision light at night, red or white. If for whatever reason you elect not to use the white strobe lights, you would still be required to have a strobe light (red) operable.

Under FAR 91.213, you are allowed to have inoperative instruments and equipment provided the inoperative instruments and equipment are not required by FAR 91.205 for the specific kind of flight operation being conducted; and the inoperative instruments and equipment are removed from the aircraft, the cockpit control placarded, and the maintenance recorded in accordance with FAR 43.9; or deactivated and placarded “Inoperative.”

So, the way I understand the rule, your red rotating beacon (anti colision light) is acceptable to be inoperative but the intent of the rule is not for the equipment to be inoperative indefinately. I think you should have both systems operational.

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