Needs VASI plans, specs

A subscriber recently contacted us about runway lights and VASI. He indicated that the homeowners at this airpark are considering installing runway lights to allow for night operations and he was interested in adding a VASI.

The writer indicated that a VASI that would provide both day and night landing guidence would be a significant safety addition.

However, he was interested in creating his own device rather than buying a commercial unit. “Do you know where I can get any plans or specifications for a homemade VASI, especially one that is lit for night operations,” he asks?

He said he has found several references to homemade VASIs with an internet search, but wasn’t able to come up with any plans or specifications.

Anyone ever looked into this idea before or actually built one? You can help your fellow residential airpark residents if you have any knowledge of such a project.

15 replies on “Needs VASI plans, specs”

I’d also be interested in the home made VASI – I seem to remember hearing that it was made with a couple of sheets of plywood, the front one painted white, the rear one red, angled so if you are on a 3 degree approach path, you’d only see the white one, if higher or lower, then the top or bottom of the red one would show.

If anyone finds a better description or plans, please let me know too.

I used to fly Army helicopters many years ago and seem to remember a method of putting three lights in some kind of measured triangle. The lights would appear to be in a straight line if you were looking at them from a 3 degree glide path. Sorry I can’t remember the details, but I recall it being very simple to measure and set up. has a discussion of plywood VASI’s. Be sure to look at the bottom for the link to “Next message in thread:” suggests a source for LED’s as a low power consumption lighting solution.

I have not personally built one of these, and suggest that that you verify it works in clear daylight (with both circling and straight in approaches) before making approaches in more adverse conditions. As always with the internet, there is a risk of misinformation, or mistake, such as when the author of the first posting I listed above suggests that for a 3 degree slope, the VASI indicators be placed 20 feet apart with every foot of height difference between the signs (which is correct according to my math) but then makes an error by suggesting “The panel most distant from the end of the runway should be one foot higher than the other two panels” which of course would give a downward slope instead of the required upward slope. As subsequent posts suggest, the correct placement of the most distant panel would be 1 foot lower than the closer two panels (for every 20 feet between the distant and near sets of panels) as you approach the VASI.

Looking elsewhere I saw someone suggest that a pair of VASI’s would be desirable to detect if one of his homemade ones were accidentally or deliberately dislodged by wind, critters, or vandals. While fences and good strong construction can help; to me, doing an approach at night, it would be nice to see two separate VASI lights sets, in agreement with each other. If they weren’t in agreement, I would probably divert to a commercial airport.

VASIs are being phased out in favor of PAPIs. If you check with your state department of aeronautics, you might just be able to pick up a surplus VASI system for free. That’s what we did…it works great. Feel free to e-mail me for more details.

I purchased several VASI units from an airport. I just needed two for my private runway. I have several extra units if you want to buy an inexpensive VASI that is airport certified.

How do I search the archives or make a new post?
I’m looking for plans for a homemade rotating beacon, or an inexpensive one for an airpark. Thanks!

Yep, I realize I am responding to an old post, but I sure could use some VASIs on my strip (2CO2). If they are still available, I am very interested.



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