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CaptainLars

Nav Lights and Other Lights

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Hi,

 

I've read in the tutorials that navigation lights are pretty much always left on.

 

I've always let them off except for the dark hours, of course. Is it a law to leave them on? I would imagine that they can hardly be seen in the broad daylight, so I'm wondering it it adds to security. What's the rationale behind that?

 

Something that similarly bothers me:

 

1. Wing lights: what's their purpose?

 

2. Logo lights: I assume they are left on during darkness, even if amidst the ocean?

 

3. Taxi lights: only during taxi or also during landing / take-off?

 

4. Runway turn-off lights: the same as above.

 

Thank you very much.

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Is it a law to leave them on? I would imagine that they can hardly be seen in the broad daylight, so I'm wondering it it adds to security.

 

In the United States, they're the only light that has a law mentioning them: must be on from sunset to sunrise. Most operators have them on at any time the aircraft has power to it, however.

 

They're not particularly costly (in an electronic sense) to keep on, so why turn them on and off? You'd be surprised at how bright they are in the day.

 

This is an image from mid day that I darkened quite a bit and you can still make out the red on the left wing:

IMG_6135.JPG

 

 

 


1. Wing lights: what's their purpose?

 

Inspect the wing - specifically for ice.

 

 

 


2. Logo lights: I assume they are left on during darkness, even if amidst the ocean?

 

Depends on airline SOP - usually up through 10,000 or 18,000.

 

 

 


3. Taxi lights: only during taxi or also during landing / take-off?

 

Depends on airline SOP - on when moving on the ground, off when stopped. On when cleared to land (simply as a reminder that you were cleared at some airlines).

 

 

 


4. Runway turn-off lights: the same as above.

 

Depends on airline SOP - on when passing through 10,000; when cleared for the approach; or something else, usually coinciding with turning on some other group of lights.

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they're the only light that has a law mentioning them

 

I think I read years ago that the equipment required for flight into known icing conditions included the wing lights.

 

Also, pilots tend to be very polite to each other and do not allow their bright lights to shine into the cockpit of another plane if they can avoid it.

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Thank you very much for your detailed answer. So the wing lights are for inspection in icing conditions, OK.

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Thank you very much for your detailed answer. So the wing lights are for inspection in icing conditions, OK.

Though primarily for illuminating the leading edges of the wings to inspect for icing, the wing lights also help to make the aircraft more visible to other aircraft in flight, just as turning on the landing lights does - especially when being viewed from the side.

 

My employer's (corporate flight department) SOP is to have both landing lights and wing inspection lights "on" whenever the aircraft is in flight below 10,000 feet both day and night.

 

Nav lights are turned on whenever the aircraft has electrical power applied - both day and night. This has advantages in airline ops for ramp personnel, who might not otherwise be able to tell if a particular aircraft at the gate is powered or not.

 

Likewise, almost all operators have an SOP to turn on the rotating red beacons just prior to engine start or pushback. Ramp workers everywhere are trained to look for this as a signal that the aircraft is about to move and/or begin starting engines.

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Thanks to you, too, for the detailed answer! I knew that of the beacon, but not the rest.

 

Thx all, my lights' handling will get a lot more realistic now.

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