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brucek

What is proper use of strobe and beacon lights?

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Hi Ron, You missed quite a debate about this some months ago. A couple of us (including me) actually went to or called our local FSDOs to get the word straight from the horses mouth. The end result was the beacon should be on before engine startup and all the way to after engine shutdown, night or day. The strobe issue is still up for debate. Other than at night (if they are available), there really isnt a rule as to when they should be used. Common sense would say turn them on even in the daytime to increase visibility of your aircraft to others, however small it might be. The strobes should be turned on just before or as your entering the active runway, and off as you are leaving it. Im sure youll get plenty of responses here, so hold on. Heh.Craig

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Turn your beacon lights on when ever the engines are running and shut them off when the engines are shut off. Turn your strobe lights on when your on the runway and turn them off when your not on the runway. At night I leave the strobe lights on at all times when my engines are running or the plane is moving.

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People and especially other pilots wont appreciate that too much when they are trying to get their "night eyes" on.Craig

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The other side of the coin is than many new aircraft have no beacon. I have ferried a few new Pipers from Florida back to New England and none have had beacons. Just strobes, landing, and Recognition lights.Pre 1996 Aircraft don

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OK, so what's the difference between the red light that spins around above and below the fuselage, and the port/starboard red/green lights on the wingtips?I presume one is the strobe and the other is the beacon?I find that on the default 737 which I fly most often, to get the wingtip lights on I need to flick the (Nav?) switch, which turns the lights on and looks all pretty from an outside view, but the cockpit lights turn on as well and I end up with burnt retinas.Is it possible to have the wingtip lights on, but keep the flightdeck dimmed???Look forward to your obviously wise words...CheersAllblack

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>OK, so what's the difference between the red light that spins>around above and below the fuselage, and the port/starboard>red/green lights on the wingtips?>>I presume one is the strobe and the other is the beacon?>The spinning red light is the beacon. Wing tip lights will have red and green as position lights, possibly white lights to the rear, and seperate strobes sticking out the sides. Other variations are white lights or strobes in the tail structure. Even the beacon mounted on top, bottom, or tail can be a stobe.L.Adamson

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WOW! Thanks for all the responses.I have Grabowski's ERJ panel/plane and in the manual I think it says to turn the beacon on when loading and waiting for pushback.When all doors are closed I think it turns off.So,maybe it is to alert everyone that you are preparing for departure.I don't know.The strobes are something else.I will look up as planes are descending to Chicago since I am 90 SW and see what the lights are.Thanks,Ron

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Pretty close.....The beacon by itself probably isn't very useful for spotting planes in the air, but every light helps .....But, the beacon does become useful for ground crews. Turn the beacon on very shortly before starting any engine or pushback (whichever you do first), and shut off after all engines are shutdown. Warning to any ground crew that the engines are running or are about to start, or the aircraft is about to start moving... :)Any time I've ever sat in CYWG's observation lounge, the beacon only started flashing a moment before pushback.....

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Hi Ron,Just as others have said, use your beacon whenever your engine is about to run or is running.Strobes- at my flight club they are on the 172SP check-lists at the end of the pre-takeoff check. In the daytime it's not too critical when you use them, and they are much better at providing a visual to other pilots than the beacon is. At night-time though, be really careful that you don't blind other pilots. Some pilots don't use strobes at night time until actually off the ground (which is when they really get to be useful, of course).If flying in cloud, especially at night-time, the strobes will tend to reflect off the water droplets in the cloud and provide a pulsating white glow to the pilot. This can help induce vertigo, and since they can't be seen by other a/c when you're in the clouds, some pilots make a habit of turning them off when in IMC.So- use the beacon at all times, and careful use of the strobes :)Bruce.

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