1973 Cessna 172 with inop beacon
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Like the title says, there's a 1973 C172 with a beacon that has been deactivated by the mechanic (it was causing issues in the electrical system). The mechanic states that since the aircraft was built before March 11, 1996 its not required to be functional and that the aircraft can be flown in this condition (during the day) indefinitely (not just to relocate so it can be fixed). 

I have my own opinion on this, but wanted to see what others thought as well. 

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1290 Posts

Neither my opinion nor yours means much because the FAA Chief Counsel has already given theirs.  Per the second paragraph on page 3, once you install an anti-collision lighting system on a plane which did not originally require one, it must be operational and operating for all flights.  The only exceptions are continuation to destination after inflight failure or one-time flight to a repair station.  Note that 91.209(n) applies to aircraft which are equipped with an anti-collision lighting system, regardless of whether they were required to have one when they were certified.  So, in the case you describe, where the system was installed but is inoperative, the only flight they can make before it is fixed is to somewhere it can be fixed even if it wasn't required by 91.205(b) at original certification.

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I agree, 91.209(b) has always been very clear on this topic.

91.209 Aircraft lights.
"No person may:
(b) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights…".

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Your response is clear for an anti-collision lighting system, such as a strobe lighting system, but the question specifically refers to a beacon, which may refer to an old rotating beacon.  The older rotating beacons were primarily used at night and are of limited usefulness in day VFR use in my opinion, so would it really qualify as an anti-collision lighting system for day VFR use?  I don't think so but didn't look it up in the regs.

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1290 Posts

Jeffery Davis: 
 

Your response is clear for an anti-collision lighting system, such as a strobe lighting system, but the question specifically refers to a beacon, which may refer to an old rotating beacon.  The older rotating beacons were primarily used at night and are of limited usefulness in day VFR use in my opinion, so would it really qualify as an anti-collision lighting system for day VFR use?  I don't think so but didn't look it up in the regs.

The rotating beacon is in fact a legal anti-collision lighting system for the purposes of 91.209(b) and 91.205(c)(3) , and that is exactly what they were talking about in the Chief Counsel letter I linked above.