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A German WWII-era APM-90 anti-aircraft searchlight

An aerobeacon is a light assembly used to create a fixed or flashing signal visible over long distances. It consists of a high intensity electric lamp mounted with a focusing device in a cylindrical housing, which usually is rotated on a vertical axis with an electric motor. The sweep of the narrow beam thus produced gives the flashing effect. Aerobeacons were originally developed for aviation use, most familiarly as aerodrome beacons, but they also saw extensive use in lighthouses. They were far cheaper to manufacture and maintain than classic glass Fresnel lenses, and more rugged; and they could be mounted exposed to the weather. Historic models include the DCB-24, which used a single parabolic reflector; the DCB-224, a double-beamed version of the DCB-24; and the DCB-36, which used a system of plastic Fresnel lenses. Manufacturers included Carlisle & Finch and the Crouse-Hinds Company. They are still in widespread use.


The model DCB-224 is a high-power spotlight designed and built by Carlisle & Finch.[1] Originally intended for use as an aero beacon, it was also widely used in marine lighthouses.

Depending on the type of bulb installed, the beam could be seen for 18 to 26 nm. The unit consists of a 25-inch aluminum housing with a parabolic reflector. An electric motor and gearbox drives the optical unit's rotation. They can optionally be fitted with a CG-2P automatic bulb changer.

The letters DCB stand for Directional Code Beacon.[2]

See also[edit]


  • Pepper, Terry. "The DCB Series Aerobeacon". Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  • Trapani, Jr., Bob. "DCB-36 Beacon: Fading Away and All but Forgotten by History". Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  • "DCB-24 and DCB-224 Rotating Searchlights (datasheet)". Richard Holmes. Retrieved 2012-06-14.

External links[edit]