Beam Approach Indicator

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C1334
Category: Navigation/Inertial
Object Type: Indicator/Instrument
Object Name: Beam Approach Indicator
Part No: Type 3, Model S47
Serial No: 10753G
Manufacturer: Sangamo Weston / Standard Radio
Division: Unknown
Year of Manufacture: Unknown
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Location: Archive Object Store

Mod. S47 No.10753G


The Standard Beam Approach System is similar to the ILS system used in Modern aircraft. Beam Approach Beacon System – BABS – was a homing device used to help pilots land in poor visibility; it was fitted to the Lancaster, Halifax, and Whitley. Radio beacons on the airfield transmitted signals, which were picked up by aircraft on their approach to land.

The Main Beacon at the end of the runway transmitted a signal in the form of a narrow beam. When the pilot was lined up correctly on this beam the signal received was steady and he knew he was heading straight towards the runway. If he was too far to the left or right, the signal received was a stream of dots or dashes and he corrected his course until the signal changed to a steady pulse. So, azimuth and glide slope are both checked.

When the aircraft crossed the Outer and Inner Marker Beacons the pilot also detected their distinctive signals, which told him how far he was from the point of touch-down. He used this information to check his rate of descent until the ground came into view and he could make a safe visual landing. The system had some usage but the poor accuracy of the aircraft Altimeters made the system unreliable. A description of the system appears in Flight International in January 20th 1938.
The Weston Blind Approach Indicator consists of two standard Weston Moving Element assemblies, one placed horizontally and one vertically. The instrument has two neon lamps which are lit when passing directly over the appropriate marker beacon

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