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Deaf Pilot

Landing lights question for GA aircraft.

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Here's a basic question. What are the rules governing the use of landing lights for takeoff, approach, and landing for general aviation aircraft? Thanks in advance,Lawrie

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Hi Lawrie,A functioning landing light is not required for US GA aircraft under part 91, unless the aircraft is being used "for hire." That means if the flight is for instructional or commercial purposes, the landing light has to work. You're not required to use it, but the light has to be functioning.Most pilots turn on the landing light, even during the day, when near airports so they are more visible to other planes and to tower controllers. I did a tour of a tower a year or so ago, and all of the controllers said the one thing that helps them see you is the landing light.You can land at night without a landing light and it's something most pilots practice regularly.The only other thing I can think of at the moment is that you shouldn't turn on your landing light (or strobes) at night when it might shine into the eyes of another pilot or a tower controller. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for night vision adaptation to occur, but only a flash of bright light to take it away.John

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Hmmm, in what country? (AVSIM has a global reach)In the US for regulatory purposes I's start with FAR Part 91. Then add the Airman's Information Manual to that (I believe both are available on line). Then the pilot's manual for th eparticular aircraft and the company policy if you are commercial.For practical safety approach the more lights the better. In congested airspace turn on landing light (but watch the time limits). Flip on the rotating beacon prior to starting the engine (I always figure if the engine is turning, the beacon is turning). But remember that the brightstrobes can be distracting if you have them. It is polite to turn them off till holding short. Also if you are nose-to-nose across the runway from someone to turn off the taxi-landing light till he is cleared to depart. Takes a while to get the night vision back after being zapped by a few thousand candle-power light.Like most anything in aviation, common sense is one of the best guides.Timothy

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In practical terms..there is no such thing as being TOO visible. :-)

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My personal preference is to always have it on when I'm below 10,000. GA or commercial, both. I turn it on as soon as I line up and turn it off as soon as I clear the runway. I learned the 10,000-foot guidline from flying commercial a/c. To make it easier to remember, I carried that guidline over to GA planes.

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