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British Airways does not use nav lights?

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Watching a replay of a Twitch stream, the streamer claimed to be part of the British Airways virtual and said SOP for BA in real life is to not use nav lights? At least on the 777? Is this true I've never heard of it before. -David Lee

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Watching a replay of a Twitch stream, the streamer claimed to be part of the British Airways virtual and said SOP for BA in real life is to not use nav lights? At least on the 777? Is this true I've never heard of it before. -David Lee

Maybe the only use them at night?

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Blimey that would be an interesting revelation. I doubt it though - as Jaime says, they're mandatory. Could he have meant the strobes? Even then it seems unlikely.

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NAV lights are only required sunset to sunrise at least in FAA regs.

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Watching a replay of a Twitch stream, the streamer claimed to be part of the British Airways virtual and said SOP for BA in real life is to not use nav lights? At least on the 777? Is this true I've never heard of it before. -David Lee

 

One of the reasons I get so bent out of shape here about people using Twitch/YouTube/etc as sources is that people often spout off stupid information that they got from their best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who told them that. As Jaime mentioned, NAV lights are essentially the only lights that have a regulatory mention. In FAA-land, they must be on at night. This is the only set of lights that has an actual requirement for being lit. The landing light carries the requirement for being present/operable, but doesn't have a requirement on when they're lit (though you'll hear all sorts of "requirements" on YouTube: 10K, 18K, and other various altitudes...all false).

 

Granted, they might not light them in daylight, but they're required to be on at night for all regs I'm familiar with. The generally-accepted NAV light operation is "when power is being provided to the aircraft: GPU, APU, battery, or GEN."

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ne of the reasons I get so bent out of shape here about people using Twitch/YouTube/etc as sources is that people often spout off stupid information that they got from their best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who told them that. As Jaime mentioned, NAV lights are essentially the only lights that have a regulatory mention. In FAA-land, they must be on at night. This is the only set of lights that has an actual requirement for being lit. The landing light carries the requirement for being present/operable, but doesn't have a requirement on when they're lit (though you'll hear all sorts of "requirements" on YouTube: 10K, 18K, and other various altitudes...all false).
 
Granted, they might not light them in daylight, but they're required to be on at night for all regs I'm familiar with. The generally-accepted NAV light operation is "when power is being provided to the aircraft: GPU, APU, battery, or GEN."

 

 

And order has been restored. :smile:

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One of the reasons I get so bent out of shape here about people using Twitch/YouTube/etc as sources is that people often spout off stupid information that they got from their best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who told them that. As Jaime mentioned, NAV lights are essentially the only lights that have a regulatory mention. In FAA-land, they must be on at night. This is the only set of lights that has an actual requirement for being lit. The landing light carries the requirement for being present/operable, but doesn't have a requirement on when they're lit (though you'll hear all sorts of "requirements" on YouTube: 10K, 18K, and other various altitudes...all false).

 

Granted, they might not light them in daylight, but they're required to be on at night for all regs I'm familiar with. The generally-accepted NAV light operation is "when power is being provided to the aircraft: GPU, APU, battery, or GEN."

This is what BA Virtual I think are telling their pilots, that is why I wanted to make sure European regs were no different than the FAA. And it would seem odd to me a world airline like BA would have that rule when different regs around the world mean better safe than sorry and keep nav nights on at all times the aircraft is powered, day or night. - David Lee

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This is what BA Virtual I think are telling their pilots, that is why I wanted to make sure European regs were no different than the FAA. And it would seem odd to me a world airline like BA would have that rule when different regs around the world mean better safe than sorry and keep nav nights on at all times the aircraft is powered, day or night. - David Lee

 

Yeah, I'd be surprised if they didn't keep them on when powered in general, but some airlines do some pretty weird stuff "because reasons."

 

 

 

Just so people know, my "best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl [...]" line is a reference to a movie to add a little humor...but I realize not everyone probably gets it, so, for those who don't:

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This is what BA Virtual I think are telling their pilots, that is why I wanted to make sure European regs were no different than the FAA. And it would seem odd to me a world airline like BA would have that rule when different regs around the world mean better safe than sorry and keep nav nights on at all times the aircraft is powered, day or night. - David Lee

As a member I can confirm that this is not what BA Virtual is telling its pilots. There are a few other British Airways VA imitators out there and one of those might have adopted this SOP. Or more likely the "streamer" might have heard someone say it was BA SOP.

 

This photo clearly shows nav lights on in daylight (hopefully a link to this site is allowed by AVSIM).

 

http://www.planespotters.net/photo/687272/g-gatk-british-airways-airbus-a320-232

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This photo clearly shows nav lights on in daylight (hopefully a link to this site is allowed by AVSIM).

 

Yeah, it's only a.net that isn't allowed here.

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but some airlines do some pretty weird stuff "because reasons."

 

Iberia had a period in which they wanted to save fuel to the max and imposed a CI=0 (which might save on fuel but not necesarilly on money overall). Also they did stuff like turning all external lights off (except for NAV, BEACON and STROBE) almost immediately after take-off and only turned the landing lights on when 1000ft above the runway... A policy of clean aircraft all the way to glide-slope interception and things like that...

 

This sort of reminded me, for those who drive "stick-shifts", when in my driving lessons they taught me to shift into 5th gear at 50 kmh to save fuel. I tried to explain them that this kills the engine, leaves you dead without an acceleration reserve, is bad for the engine in the long run and so on... Never listened to reasons. I passed my driving exam and never ever listened to anyone trying to tell me how to properly shift gears in my car again (except for real "drivers" who knew what they were talking about).

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This sort of reminded me, for those who drive "stick-shifts", when in my driving lessons they taught me to shift into 5th gear at 50 kmh to save fuel. I tried to explain them that this kills the engine, leaves you dead without an acceleration reserve, is bad for the engine in the long run and so on... Never listened to reasons. I passed my driving exam and never ever listened to anyone trying to tell me how to properly shift gears in my car again.

 

Yeah. I'd shift into 5th at 50km/h only if I was going to remain at 50 and it was flat. Otherwise, keep it in the power band - no reason to overstress the engine.

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This is an extract from ICAO Annex 2 Rules of the Air

 

3.2.3.1 Except as provided by 3.2.3.5, from sunset to
sunrise or during any other period which may be prescribed by
the appropriate authority all aircraft in flight shall display:
a) anti-collision lights intended to attract attention to the
aircraft; and
b) navigation lights intended to indicate the relative path of
the aircraft to an observer and other lights shall not be
displayed if they are likely to be mistaken for these
lights.

3.2.3.5 A pilot shall be permitted to switch off or reduce
the intensity of any flashing lights fitted to meet the requirements
of 3.2.3.1, 3.2.3.2, 3.2.3.3 and 3.2.3.4 if they do or are
likely to:
a) adversely affect the satisfactory performance of duties;
or
b) subject an outside observer to harmful dazzle.

So BA Virtual are in effect wrong. Navigation lights do not flash! I have never not seen a BA aircraft day or night without its nav lights on except when they are parked.

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One of the reasons I get so bent out of shape here about people using Twitch/YouTube/etc as sources is that people often spout off stupid information that they got from their best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who told them that.

I think we should stress the word 'often' here, as oppposed to 'always', just as a disclaimer as you and I both have sim-related Youtube channels Kyle :P I absolutely agree though, there is a hell of a lot of guesswork, conjecture and rubbish about aviation in  simming Youtube and stream channels that are not based on research or real-world sources at all. If I were to say something as outlandish and unlikely as a certain airline doesn't use nav lights on my channel, I'd have had to find that from a very reliable source.

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Yeah, I'd be surprised if they didn't keep them on when powered in general, but some airlines do some pretty weird stuff "because reasons."

 

 

 

Just so people know, my "best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl [...]" line is a reference to a movie to add a little humor...but I realize not everyone probably gets it, so, for those who don't:

Yer dating yourself.  But since you brought it up, I like this one better (paying more attention to the beginning of the clip of course). :)

 

 

-Jim

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If I were to say something as outlandish and unlikely as a certain airline doesn't use nav lights on my channel, I'd have had to find that from a very reliable source.

 

Exactly. It's always about the qualifier, which is why I used 'often' in my earlier message. When I'm not sure, I tend to use "I believe," or "from what I remember" to help illustrate that it may not be fully reliable and further research may be required. Where able, I'll also provide the regulatory/manual/document reference, but I also have expressed a hope that people check my info against other people's. If not just to be sure, but to get an alternate viewpoint or explanation on the same or a similar concept.


 

 


Yer dating yourself.  But since you brought it up, I like this one better (paying more attention to the beginning of the clip of course). :)

 

haha - another good clip!

 

"...what's that make us?"

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Hello!

I think I can help with this.

 

This is an extract from ICAO Annex 2 Rules of the Air

3.2.3.1 Except as provided by 3.2.3.5, from sunset to
sunrise or during any other period which may be prescribed by
the appropriate authority all aircraft in flight shall display:
a) anti-collision lights intended to attract attention to the
aircraft; and
B) navigation lights intended to indicate the relative path of
the aircraft to an observer and other lights shall not be
displayed if they are likely to be mistaken for these
lights.

3.2.3.5 A pilot shall be permitted to switch off or reduce
the intensity of any flashing lights fitted to meet the requirements
of 3.2.3.1, 3.2.3.2, 3.2.3.3 and 3.2.3.4 if they do or are
likely to:
a) adversely affect the satisfactory performance of duties;
or
B) subject an outside observer to harmful dazzle.

So BA Virtual are in effect wrong. Navigation lights do not flash! I have never not seen a BA aircraft day or night without its nav lights on except when they are parked..

 

Please re-read the extract you have posted: there is an important qualifier in 3.2.3.1, which is from sunset to sunrise -- i.e. they are only mandatory at night. 3.2.3.5 permits you to turn off (or turn down) any flashing lights that would otherwise be required (i.e. at night) if they are distracting (so you don't have to leave the strobes on if they are bouncing off the inside of a cloud, for example).

 

BA policy is to leave the nav lights off during the day (with the exception of checking they work during the walkaround). 

 

Here is the direct quote from the BA Operations Manual:

 

8.3.15 Aircraft Lights

Navigation lights will be switched on during operations at night, and normally be switched off during daylight. 

 

Of course, the Commander's discretion applies, and (over deepest darkest Africa at night, for example) he may elect to turn them on during daylight if he so wishes.

 

Hope that clears it up.

 

Best,

 

Simon

 

Edit to add: the EASA reference is SERA.3215 Lights to Be Displayed by Aircraft, for information.

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over deepest darkest Africa at night, for example

 

Honestly, in Africa - cruise or not - I'd probably have every light on at all times just in case. Some areas there have an odd definition of "ATC."

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Funny the lights issue again. Odd in this day and age there is no definitive guidelines as to correct usage of lights, more down to pilot discretion. If I read correctly. 

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Funny the lights issue again. Odd in this day and age there is no definitive guidelines as to correct usage of lights, more down to pilot discretion. If I read correctly. 

 

There are some regulatory requirements (generally relating to night operations) outlined in the Rules of the Air. If the laws were overly-prescriptive, you could end up in a situation where your flight, scheduled to take place in crystal-clear, bright sunshine VMC in the middle of the day, gets cancelled because a bulb blew on a nav light. Plus, there are more safety-critical things to go round enforcing (from an xAA's point of view).

 

However, individual airlines will have their own policies which must conform to the regulations (and are approved by the regulator) but otherwise can be developed to suit their own ends. In BA's case, the policy of encouraging pilots not usually turning the nav lights on during the day is, I believe, for bulb life reasons (no point using out bulbs all day when you don't legally have to have them on, only to have to delay or cancel a night flight where they are required because a bulb's burnt out).

 

 

Honestly, in Africa - cruise or not - I'd probably have every light on at all times just in case. Some areas there have an odd definition of "ATC."

 

 

Indeed -- I've read some very hair-raising ASRs, including one incident on a dark night over Niger where two 747s ended up at the same level, on the same airway, pointed directly at each other.

 

Fortunately the crews were on the ball (and, as it happens, were displaying all available lights) and were able to take action...

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There are some regulatory requirements (generally relating to night operations) outlined in the Rules of the Air. If the laws were overly-prescriptive, you could end up in a situation where your flight, scheduled to take place in crystal-clear, bright sunshine VMC in the middle of the day, gets cancelled because a bulb blew on a nav light. Plus, there are more safety-critical things to go round enforcing (from an xAA's point of view).

 

However, individual airlines will have their own policies which must conform to the regulations (and are approved by the regulator) but otherwise can be developed to suit their own ends. In BA's case, the policy of encouraging pilots not usually turning the nav lights on during the day is, I believe, for bulb life reasons (no point using out bulbs all day when you don't legally have to have them on, only to have to delay or cancel a night flight where they are required because a bulb's burnt out).

 

 

 

Indeed -- I've read some very hair-raising ASRs, including one incident on a dark night over Niger where two 747s ended up at the same level, on the same airway, pointed directly at each other.

 

Fortunately the crews were on the ball (and, as it happens, were displaying all available lights) and were able to take action...

 

Really interests me this "what lights to use and when" issue. See in cockpit vids the landing lights are flipped on on finals, yet the,  below 10,000 foot rule ???? It's not definitive enough in my eyes from the people who "govern the skies" . And after reading your second quote, safety can/may be compromised, when it comes to a simple issue of using aircraft lights??? Astounding.

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Could he have meant the strobes? Even then it seems unlikely.

 

On long haul flights over the Pacific during the night, I've seen strobe lights get turned off. In fact, both the Nav and Strobes got turned off. Unless we were flying in thick, heavy cloud at 40,000ft, I couldn't see any blinking or red/green lights out the window (they were perfectly visible before and after)

 

(Yes real-world flying) 

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Odd in this day and age there is no definitive guidelines as to correct usage of lights

 

Because the basic rules only regulate the use of the POSITION lights, which are pretty much the only single set of mandatory lights on every aircraft. The rest is all recommendations.

 

These are the rules and more importantly, the recommendations, derived from the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual:

 

 

 

4−3−23. Use of Aircraft Lights

 

a. Aircraft position lights are required to be lighted
on aircraft operated on the surface and in flight from
sunset to sunrise. In addition, aircraft equipped with
an anti−collision light system are required to operate
that light system during all types of operations (day
and night). However, during any adverse meteorological
conditions, the pilot−in−command may
determine that the anti−collision lights should be
turned off when their light output would constitute a
hazard to safety (14 CFR Section 91.209).
Supplementary strobe lights should be turned off on
the ground when they adversely affect ground
personnel or other pilots, and in flight when there are
adverse reflection from clouds.
 
b. An aircraft anti−collision light system can use
one or more rotating beacons and/or strobe lights, be
colored either red or white, and have different (higher
than minimum) intensities when compared to other
aircraft. Many aircraft have both a rotating beacon
and a strobe light system.
 
c. The FAA has a voluntary pilot safety program,
Operation Lights On, to enhance the see−and−avoid
concept. Pilots are encouraged to turn on their landing
lights during takeoff; i.e., either after takeoff
clearance has been received or when beginning
takeoff roll. Pilots are further encouraged to turn on
their landing lights when operating below
10,000 feet, day or night, especially when operating
within 10 miles of any airport, or in conditions of
reduced visibility and in areas where flocks of birds
may be expected, i.e., coastal areas, lake areas,
around refuse dumps, etc. Although turning on
aircraft lights does enhance the see−and−avoid
concept, pilots should not become complacent about
keeping a sharp lookout for other aircraft. Not all
aircraft are equipped with lights and some pilots may
not have their lights turned on. Aircraft manufacturer’s
recommendations for operation of landing lights
and electrical systems should be observed.
 
d. Prop and jet blast forces generated by large
aircraft have overturned or damaged several smaller
aircraft taxiing behind them. To avoid similar results,
and in the interest of preventing upsets and injuries to
ground personnel from such forces, the FAA
recommends that air carriers and commercial
operators turn on their rotating beacons anytime their
aircraft engines are in operation. General aviation
pilots using rotating beacon equipped aircraft are also
encouraged to participate in this program which is
designed to alert others to the potential hazard. Since
this is a voluntary program, exercise caution and do
not rely solely on the rotating beacon as an indication
that aircraft engines are in operation.
 
e. Prior to commencing taxi, it is recommended to
turn on navigation, position, anti-collision, and logo
lights (if equipped). To signal intent to other pilots,
consider turning on the taxi light when the aircraft is
moving or intending to move on the ground, and
turning it off when stopped or yielding to other
ground traffic. Strobe lights should not be illuminated
during taxi if they will adversely affect the vision of
other pilots or ground personnel.
 
f. At the discretion of the pilot-in-command, all
exterior lights should be illuminated when taxiing on
or across any runway. This increases the conspicuousness
of the aircraft to controllers and other pilots
approaching to land, taxiing, or crossing the runway.
Pilots should comply with any equipment operating
limitations and consider the effects of landing and
strobe lights on other aircraft in their vicinity
 
g. When entering the departure runway for takeoff
or to “line up and wait,” all lights, except for landing
lights, should be illuminated to make the aircraft
conspicuous to ATC and other aircraft on approach.
Landing lights should be turned on when takeoff
clearance is received or when commencing takeoff
roll at an airport without an operating control tower.

 

The only really mandatory set of lights are the NAVIGATION lights.

 

To sum up the REQUIRED:

  • Position lights: ON from sunset to sunrise.
  • Anti-collision lights, if equipped, ON during all operations
  • Strobe lights, if equipped, OFF on the ground

As you see, this list is very short. It just regulates the BARE minimum for ALL aircraft. And might I remind you that the sky is not filled just with 777s, but also shared with light airplanes that private people built in their garages...

 

Most "rules" that many flightsimmers invent are in fact not rules, just "recommendations".

 

Note how "anti-collision" and "strobe" are not necessarily the same. The strobe lights are a type of "anti-collision" lights.

Note how "navigation" and "position" are not necessarily the same. Apparently, NAV lights are theoretically just the green and red lights on the wingtips. If you add white lights to the trailing edges of the wingtips and horizontal tailplane, you get "position" lights, but I'm not really sure about this and would like confirmation.

 

The RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • LANDING lights ON during take-off and in flight and below 10.000 feet.
  • ROTATING BEACON lights ON when engines are running
  • Before taxi, turn NAV, POS, ANTI-COL, LOGO (if equipped) ON.
  • TAXI light ON when the aircraft is moving or about to move on the ground. OFF when yielding
  • ALL LIGHS ON (a.k.a. Full Christmas Tree) when crossing or taxiing on runways
  • When "line up and wait": ALL LIGHTS ON except for LANDING lights
  • When "cleared for take-off": ALL LIGHTS ON

 

I personally prefer more lights on than less. I leave as many lights on as I can.

Also in the sim sometimes I will turn the lights on before taxiing into the active runway to be able to perform a rolling taxe-off and not having to grab onto the overhead to set the lights. In real life you would have a nice Pilot Monitoring who'll do it for you.

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Really interests me this "what lights to use and when" issue. See in cockpit vids the landing lights are flipped on on finals, yet the,  below 10,000 foot rule ???? It's not definitive enough in my eyes from the people who "govern the skies"

 

But why does it need to be more definitive?

 

There are definitive rules about lights that need to be displayed at night, and there are also rules about displaying lights that show the engines are running. The SERA section that I linked above explains it in full in legalese, but it boils down in plain language to:

 

- You must have the beacon lights on any time the engines are running, day or night

- You must have the strobe lights at all times in flight, day or night

 

Otherwise, during the day there is little benefit to displaying nav and other position lights -- they are not bright enough to stand out at any distance for collision avoidance, and the intention, amongst other things is to enable someone moving around the airfield (or in the air) to determine the extremities of the aircraft structure. In the air, during the day you'll almost certainly see the aeroplane before you see a weedy little nav light.

 

At night, of course, the game changes and lights are essential for "see and avoid", which is why the display of lights at night is much more heavily regulated.

 

If you were driving your car during the day, would there be any benefit to turning your headlights on on a glorious sunny day? Would it make any difference to your ability to see oncoming traffic? Probably not. But you might find you're spending more money on headlamp bulbs.

 

It's neither possible nor practical to write a regulation for everything. That's where the concept of airmanship comes in: to use the car analogy, if it were pouring down with rain, misty and the visibility was generally poor you might decide to turn your headlights on, even though the law doesn't require you to do so.

 

In the same way, airlines (and airline chief pilots) look at the regulations -- what they have to do -- and then look at what they think is sensible, good airmanship, and they may elect to write some of this in to their manuals. If they do, then if you're flying for them then you are required to abide by it (unless it is worded in a way that leaves it up to your discretion) -- ultimately, it's their aeroplane and they decide how they want it operated (just as if you were lending/hiring out your car, you might place some conditions on how it's driven). Thus, they may be prescriptive about how the lights are used outside of what is required by the regulations or they may not. As I mentioned, what you do with the lights during the day is largely meaningless anyway because they're just not going to be very visible.

 

With this in mind, there is no law, at least in Europe, requiring landing lights to be switched on below 10,000ft, but it is generally considered good practice and airmanship to do so to make the aircraft more visible to both other aircraft (particularly VFR aircraft that may not be talking to ATC and are operating under see-and-avoid) and to birds. With this in mind, some airlines may require they are on below 10,000ft, some may suggest they are on below 10,000ft and some may leave it entirely up to the pilot. It may be type specific and it's also worth noting that on some types with two sets of landing lights, one set may be left until final to use as a reminder that landing clearance has (or has not) been received (or take-off clearance). Some types have retractable landing lights which are noisy in the cabin (and thus pilots/airlines may prefer to get them off/retracted sooner rather than later for passenger comfort reasons).

 

However, all of that said, as I say, airmanship dictates that there are some occasions where you might want to make your aircraft particularly conspicuous -- a part of the sky where ATC (and radar) services are limited, of questionable quality etc is one example, but there may be others. In the example I quoted, it's worth mentioning that the lights were not the only reason for disaster being averted -- it was more to do with the crews' situational awareness from listening on frequency to the transmissions being directed to the other aircraft around them and realising that they were on the same airway as another flight coming the other way that had been cleared to the same level, and also from their use of the IATA In-flight Broadcast Procedure in force over that part of the world. However, by displaying all available lights they were also able to visually identify (at night) the other aircraft after having co-ordinated an avoidance manoeuvre.

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