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BWBriscoe

Lights: The procedures

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Can someone clarify the standard operating procedure for lights on board commercial aircraft. I think it goes like this:

Once crew on board - NAV lights ON
Just before engine start - BEACON light ON
Just before taxi - TAXI lights ON
On entering runway - LANDING lights ON / STROBE lights ON / TAXI lights OFF
On reaching 10,000 - LANDING lights OFF
During descent, reaching 10,000 - LANDING lights ON
Exiting runway after landing - LANDING lights OFF / STROBE lights OFF / TAXI lights on
Approaching gate - TAXI lights OFF
After engine shutdown - BEACON light OFF

Is this right?

Can someone also give me guidance on the use of LOGO lights and the WING lights? When are these used?

Thanks in advance.

B

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Wing lights illuminate (usually) the leading edge and helps identify if there is any icing formed and makes the external walk around easier when it's dark.

Logo light usage is probably company specific


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58 minutes ago, BWBriscoe said:

Can someone clarify the standard operating procedure for lights on board commercial aircraft. I think it goes like this:

Once crew on board - NAV lights ON
Just before engine start - BEACON light ON
Just before taxi - TAXI lights ON
On entering runway - LANDING lights ON / STROBE lights ON / TAXI lights OFF
On reaching 10,000 - LANDING lights OFF
During descent, reaching 10,000 - LANDING lights ON
Exiting runway after landing - LANDING lights OFF / STROBE lights OFF / TAXI lights on
Approaching gate - TAXI lights OFF
After engine shutdown - BEACON light OFF

Is this right?

Can someone also give me guidance on the use of LOGO lights and the WING lights? When are these used?

Thanks in advance.

B

I tend to switch strobes to auto when nav lights go on in the Airbus . They detect weight on the wheels so would only illuminate if you take off and forget to switch them to on. Not sure if this is correct.

Landing lights should be on below 10,000 above ground level, not above sea level, so if the airport is at 4,000 feet they stay on until 14,000 feet.

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1 hour ago, BWBriscoe said:

Can someone also give me guidance on the use of LOGO lights and the WING lights? When are these used?

Your procedure is pretty close. The logo light is on while on the ground at night while powered up along with nav lights and turned off at 10k along with landing lights.  Same on approach, they can come on with landing lights at 10k at night.  Wing lights can also come on at pilot discretion but common at many airlines to have them on under 10k.  Also, if instructed to "line up and wait" you would hold off on the landing lights until 'cleared for takeoff' but strobes would come on.  Taxi lights don't necessarily have to be turned off for takeoff.  Taxi lights usually come on on during approach once you are cleared to land.  Lighting ops vary with each carrier though.


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Is that 10kagl or msl?  If the destination airport is say 7000 Msl airport elevation you would only be 3000 above field elevation. 


Vic green

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Yeah, your procedures are pretty much correct.

In my experience, most airliners (apart from those obviously parked up on remote stands and empty for days on end) tend to have the wingtip red and green nav lights on all the time since it helps to prevent airport trucks driving into the wings.

The beacon light goes on when you have push and start clearance as it is a warning about two things (the engines possibly starting, or the aircraft possibly moving), so it also goes on when you are going to be towed, or if you are doing an engine test on the stand. Under normal circumstances, the anti-collision beacon can serve to tell the ground crew headset person and the tug driver that you've got your clearance and can expect to hear them on the headset asking the crew to commence push any second. The beacon stays on thereafter until you have arrived at your destination, are on the stand, with the brakes on, and the engines have spooled down sufficiently to posed no hazard to ground personnel and a hazard includes any prop airliners with the engines running in hotel mode and the props disengaged from the drive mechanism.

When the beacon goes off, this tells the rampies that it is safe to approach the aeroplane. The only exception to that is with either an FEP shutdown arrival. This when the aeroplane's APU is broken, or when it is an aeroplane equipped with no APU (such as the ATR-72). In these cases, you taxi onto stand, shut down one engine (the one furthest away from the ground power socket on the aeroplane) then leave the other engine running (in hotel mode if you can on a prop plane so the prop is not actually turning). This is the only time the ground crew can approach the aeroplane with the beacon still flashing, since they need to connect ground power and chock the nose wheel. They then signal the crew that the power is connected and running, as the pilot you select ground power in the cockpit, then you can shut the engine down and then you can turn the beacon off.

Theoretically most airlines will knock the landing lights on/off when passing 10,000 feet as one of the climb/descent checks, but you can leave them on/turn them on above that altitude if you think it will aid visibility. Don't leave them on indefinitely though as they can burn out although the newer LED ones are less likely to do so.


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Most of this, I would think is covered by the developers procedures manual. However, practicality dictates that they cannot cover every airlines procedures, one is lead to wonder, just how much of this and what is actually mandatory.

For instance, turning of taxi lights approaching the gates.  I assume that if gates are supplied, airport lighting would be sufficient to be able to guide the aircraft to final parking.  If not going to a gate though, does the same apply.  Other than the annoying part of attendant ground handlers having to look directly into the glare of the taxi lights as it comes in to the parking area, what other parameters apply?

All the lighting procedures listed by BWB certainly logical, but with governmental regulation bodies, mandatory and logical seldom seem to mix. 

Just curious thoughts on my part.

Tony


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Looks pretty good mostly, a few notes below:

4 hours ago, BWBriscoe said:

Once crew on board - NAV lights ON - Often these are left on if the aircraft is at a gate even without crew, but otherwise yes.
Just before engine start - BEACON light ON
Just before taxi - TAXI lights ON - Typically yes, just before sure your pushback crew has moved away from the front of the aircraft and you're not otherwise pointed right at other ground crew.
On entering runway - LANDING lights ON / STROBE lights ON / TAXI lights OFF - There are exceptions to this, it can vary for different aircraft.  For example, on modern Airbuses the nosewheel light functions as the taxi light but then you put it into takeoff mode.
On reaching 10,000 - LANDING lights OFF - Generally yes, some use 18,000
During descent, reaching 10,000 - LANDING lights ON - Generally yes, some use 18,000
Exiting runway after landing - LANDING lights OFF / STROBE lights OFF / TAXI lights on
Approaching gate - TAXI lights OFF
After engine shutdown - BEACON light OFF

One other thing I'll add, some airlines have a practice of turning on the strobes when crossing an active runway to aid with visibility.  I know Air Canada does.

Edited by regis9

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Our company specific runway turn off lights are on when taxing and up to 10000', and on down from 10000' until approaching gate.

For 737, taxi lights are off by the after takeoff flow (alone with retaracable landing light, if installed), likewise the nose lights for airbus, but for 777/787 it automaticly turns off once gears are up, so just do it with all landing light at 10000'

For descending, taxi light on 777/787 are truned on at 10000', but for 737 it's only on at 1000' AFE(also alone with retaracable landing light, if installed)), but for Airbus it's only on after landing.

Finally, if airport elevation is above 5000', Landing/Turnoff/Taxi/Logo's 10000' is changed to airport elevation+10000'

Edited by C2615

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SAS would turn off land +taxi lights immediately after takeoff /gear up in the MD80. Those retractable landing lights under the wing caused a slight performance penalty  and great deal of vibration.

you could gain another 100fpm or so in idle descents when extending them aswell!


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2 hours ago, SAS443 said:

SAS would turn off land +taxi lights immediately after takeoff /gear up in the MD80. Those retractable landing lights under the wing caused a slight performance penalty  and great deal of vibration.

you could gain another 100fpm or so in idle descents when extending them aswell!

Also true for the A318/19/20/21, in fact, I suspect most aircraft with an extendable light will retract it during the after take off checks and extend it with the gear.

HTH

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A very informative thread.  Thank you all.  

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