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Why Dim Cabins On Take-off And Landing?  
User currently offlineQantasistheway From Australia, joined May 2008, 315 posts, RR: 1
Posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65137 times:

Hi all,

I've always wondered why cabins are dimmed during take-off and landing during the hours of darkness. Is it some sort of safety precaution? Is there anyone that could andswer this question?

Cheers.

62 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65144 times:

Pax and cabin crew need to see what's going on outside in case of an emergency. In case for example it is not possible to evacuate from one side of the plane (because of a ravine or something like that) it's easier to see when the lights in the cabin are dimmed.


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User currently offlineSpeedmarque From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 684 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65131 times:

Hi

Its so your eyes are adjusted to light conditions outside.

Imagine going from a brightly lit cabin to the ground where its dark in a few seconds down an escape slide?

You would be blind, like when you first turn out your bedroom lights at night!


User currently offlineDaleaholic From UK - England, joined Oct 2005, 3208 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65112 times:

I was on a flight once and the pilot made an announcement about the lights dimming, claiming it was because the engines needed all power as opposed to the cabin. One way of twisting it i suppose!


Religion is an illusion of childhood... Outgrown under proper education.
User currently offlineAirJamaica From Jamaica, joined Aug 2006, 2559 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65074 times:



Quoting Speedmarque (Reply 2):
Hi

Its so your eyes are adjusted to light conditions outside.

Imagine going from a brightly lit cabin to the ground where its dark in a few seconds down an escape slide?

You would be blind, like when you first turn out your bedroom lights at night!

Correct. Similarly in general the eyes would need adjusting to the conditions if you go from an extremely dark room to a well lit one as well. It took me a while to fully comprehend why they did it aboard airliners as they don't clearly state this ; usually they say Civil Aviation Requirements...etc.



greenheart
User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65055 times:

Interior lights are supposed to approximate outside conditions so your eyes adjust rapidly in an emergency.

User currently offlineOlympus69 From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 1737 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 65029 times:

It's not just outside. When the plane crashes and the cabin lights go out, surviving passengers' eyes will require less time to adjust and allow them to find their way to an exit.

User currently offlineRikkus67 From Canada, joined Jun 2000, 1676 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64914 times:



Quoting Olympus69 (Reply 6):
When the plane crashes...

Not WHEN, but IF...  Wink



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User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8461 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64900 times:
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Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):

Funny you should ask, when I lived closer to JNB the only planes I saw going out with cabin lights blazing were Qantas.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64859 times:



Quoting Qantasistheway (Thread starter):
during the hours of darkness

I know that it's not just dark at night but also early in the morning or evening sometimes, but there was always something about this constantly used term 'hours of darkness' that ever since I was young struck me as a little bit creepy.

Quoting Speedmarque (Reply 2):
Its so your eyes are adjusted to light conditions outside.

Imagine going from a brightly lit cabin to the ground where its dark in a few seconds down an escape slide?

You would be blind, like when you first turn out your bedroom lights at night!

This is precisely what a cabin crew member explained when I asked this question as a child.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineGT4EZY From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2007, 1800 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64847 times:



Quoting AirJamaica (Reply 4):
Correct. Similarly in general the eyes would need adjusting to the conditions if you go from an extremely dark room to a well lit one as well. It took me a while to fully comprehend why they did it aboard airliners as they don't clearly state this ; usually they say Civil Aviation Requirements...etc.

It's best not to be too specific as to why the lights are dimmed, it does nothing to relax scared/nervous flyers or even those that aren't.

"It is perfectly normal procedure to dim the cabin lights blah blah blah" is sufficient.



Proud to fly from Manchester!
User currently offlineQantasistheway From Australia, joined May 2008, 315 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64774 times:

Thank a lot guys, really cleared that queery up. I was actually thinking this morning as we arrived on the SQ A380 to LHR, that they should hurry up and turn the lights off so that I could see outside as it was still dark. So it all makes sense now.

Quoting Andz (Reply 8):
Funny you should ask, when I lived closer to JNB the only planes I saw going out with cabin lights blazing were Qantas.

Haha, thats a bit strange, although I have noticed that Qantas do often leave their lights on.

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 9):
I know that it's not just dark at night but also early in the morning or evening sometimes, but there was always something about this constantly used term 'hours of darkness' that ever since I was young struck me as a little bit creepy.

Well I've heard it so many times now that I couldn't think of a better way to put it!

Quoting Rikkus67 (Reply 7):
Not WHEN, but IF...  

Yeah probably best to stay positive!


User currently offlineFsnuffer From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 252 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64754 times:



Quoting GT4EZY (Reply 10):
It's best not to be too specific as to why the lights are dimmed, it does nothing to relax scared/nervous flyers or even those that aren't.

It reminds me of the time when we were in processing to flight school. One of the Lt’s asked why they were taking footprints. Without missing a beat, the Master Sgt taking our footprints kindly replied that since your foot is surrounded by a leather boot, it is the only thing left identifiable after you smack into the mountain at 450 Kts. Lesson here is don’t ask the question if you can’t handle the answer


User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64713 times:



Quoting Qantasistheway (Reply 11):
Well I've heard it so many times now that I couldn't think of a better way to put it!

To be fair, I've thought about it too and haven't come up with a better way to put it that covers everything. It still sounds funny to me though.  Smile



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineTakeOff From United States of America, joined May 2004, 90 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 64662 times:

I remember I was on a night flight once and the passenger next to me, an older man in his 70s, informed me that they dim the lights during take off for sightseeing purposes, so we can have a better view. When I told him that they actually do it so our eyes are adjusted to the light conditions outside in case of an accident during take off, he didn't sound very happy or convinced. I guess he thought I was trying to scare him...

TakeOff


User currently offlineTimRees From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2001, 355 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 64406 times:

So why do QF often leave the lights on? On the two long-haul flights at night I've made with them the lights were blazing....it is odd taking off with the lights full on...quite disconcerting when you're used to them being dimmed.

User currently onlineYflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1086 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 64341 times:



Quoting TakeOff (Reply 14):
I remember I was on a night flight once and the passenger next to me, an older man in his 70s, informed me that they dim the lights during take off for sightseeing purposes, so we can have a better view. When I told him that they actually do it so our eyes are adjusted to the light conditions outside in case of an accident during take off, he didn't sound very happy or convinced.

Well, it is true that dimming the lights makes it easier to see out the windows, which is also important during an emergency. So I can see that as an additional reason for dimming the lights, similar to requiring that the window shades be up.


User currently offlineBabyblueBHX From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2008, 38 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 63031 times:



Quoting TimRees (Reply 15):
So why do QF often leave the lights on?

I read some where that Australian requirements state the cabin lights must be on full if the aircraft is flying below 10,000ft will have a look for the article.



A new job a new era
User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 62947 times:



Quoting BabyblueBHX (Reply 17):
I read some where that Australian requirements state the cabin lights must be on full if the aircraft is flying below 10,000ft will have a look for the article.

What does cabin lights have to do with beacon, nav, strobe, landing lights, etc?


User currently offlineSoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 62332 times:

It's really done to cut down on interior glare and to minimize reflections during travelling spotter photography!  crazy 

User currently offlineCsturdiv From Australia, joined Aug 2005, 1506 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 62215 times:

Is this the same reason why some airlines ask for the window shades to be opened on take off and landings? I noticed that NK does this, but I cannot remember if AA, UA or US does this, it has been a while since I've flown with them.


An American expat from the ORD area living and working in Australia
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7714 posts, RR: 21
Reply 21, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 62088 times:



Quoting Csturdiv (Reply 20):
Is this the same reason why some airlines ask for the window shades to be opened on take off and landings? I noticed that NK does this, but I cannot remember if AA, UA or US does this, it has been a while since I've flown with them.

Pretty much. In an emergency situation you may well want to be able to see what's going on outside the aircraft; fire, obstacles etc.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineNCB From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 62047 times:

Except for facilitating conversion to night vision (which, the way it is done really takes a few more minutes than practically usable in an emergency evac) there is another, more significant factor.
When crew have to evacuate the aircraft, the appropriate exits must be selected.
With a dimmed cabin and if lights stay on after a crash, a fire on either side of the aircraft is more easily detected, helping cabin crew with selection of doors to open, and those to keep closed. That is also the main reason behind the open window shades.

That is a very important consideration because opening the wrong doors can lead to disasters as the past suggests.


User currently offlineAviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1360 posts, RR: 11
Reply 23, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 60880 times:

The following snippet is from my book:

Q: Why do I have to open my window shade for landing? And why are the cabin lights dimmed?

You are asked to raise your shade so you can see through the window. Not for the view, but to help you remain oriented if there's an accident. It allows you keep track of which way is up, and lets you see any exterior hazards -- fires, debris -- to avoid during an evacuation. Additionally it lets light into the cabin and makes it easier for rescuers to see inside. Dimming the lights is part of the same strategy. Burning brightly, the glare would makes it impossible to see outside. And by pre-adjusting your eyes, you're not suddenly blind while dashing for the doors in darkness or smoke. The emergency path-lighting and signs also will be more visible.


Hope that helps.

Patrick Smith



Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
User currently offlineBrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4389 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (5 years 10 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 60275 times:



Quoting Qantasistheway (Reply 11):
Haha, thats a bit strange, although I have noticed that Qantas do often leave their lights on.

They do everything backwards in Australia. They have summer in the winter and winter in the summer... Big grin



Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
25 SPR773 : Hey now this would turn into an A vs W thread (Australia vs rest of the world) ... ...coming back to the thread....well I think the lights are dimmed
26 SSTsomeday : Interesting that this protocol is not universally applied. I recently flew several segments at night (AA) and they were not dimmed. Is it at the disc
27 SXDFC : I used to hate that when I was a kid lol! After reading all of these responses it all makes sense, however call me weird if you want I kinda like it
28 9MMPD : I fly QF reguarly and most flights will dim the lights for landing and takeoff. I have overhead the F/A on a recent arrival into Sydney that the light
29 Dangould2000 : at FR, our protocol dictates the light settings for flying in the hours of darkness Ceiling Lights - Night Setting Window Lights - Off Entry Lights -
30 Jorge1812 : Funny nobody replied to that. I heard this as well even when I know it's for safety reason to get the eyes used to the darkness. As stated by dangoul
31 Western727 : In my experience on many dozens of dark take-offs and landings it's (almost) always been universally applied and I am always eager for the lights to
32 NZ107 : So in the case of the 787 when it comes into service, will the lack of power/crash disable the tinting of the windows so that they can see in? Also w
33 B727LVR : Well in some cases like Alaska used to do and a few other airlines used to do, they flew "combi's." A mix of pax and cargo on the same deck, areas wi
34 Flyfree727 : At AA we dim the cabin lights simply to make the cabin a more comfortable environment. althought we call it "over 40 lighting". However, one of the fi
35 MakeMinesLAX : Well, there is another sense to the meaning, as in "Let It Be" (McCartney): "...and in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me..."
36 Imag : why is it call that?
37 DavidkunzVIE : And how are you supposed to find your way out of the plane with cabin lights dimmed?
38 B727LVR : Thats what emergency lighting is for.
39 Victor009 : In case of emergency during take off or landing, pilots need all necessary power available to them to do needful, lights take a great deal of power, h
40 Cumulus : Just in case the cockpit door opens and you can see what complete nervous shaking wreck the Skipper is.......................
41 B747forever : But when I flew LHR-ARN on board a BA 767 for a few weeks ago during night the cabin lights were never dimmed at landing to my surprise. Dose anyone k
42 Elite : Everytime you are on a flight you should remember hearing, "Emergency lighting on the floor will guide you to your nearest exit" or something like th
43 DiscoverCSG : What the heck is a PLANNED emergency?
44 Flyfree727 : what is a planned emergency?? A planned emergency is when we know in advance of a potential incident/evaucation.. IE the captain calls and says the l
45 Flyfree727 : well its mainly a joke.. most FA's, (and passengers too for that matter) are "over 40" and look a little better in dim lighting. AA ORD
46 CokePopper : At Delta, our requirement is to match the outside lighting inside for takeoff and landing. As far as the window shades, there is nothing stated in our
47 Chuchoteur : ... good job we have DNA now... in some fast jet crashes, you're lucky to find a whole foot... I seem to recall some accidents in UK low level flying
48 Isitsafenow : During daylight, the shades are asked to be up(on certain carriers only) because if Captain whats his name screws up the T O or landing AND after wha
49 Floridaflyboy : While not the case often, this isn't totally untrue. Some of our captains on the Saab 340 make an announcement about that. The cabin lights do shut o
50 747400sp : It looks like TACA leave their lights on during landing. A TACA A320 that landed at LAX the other night, touch down on 24R with it's cabin lights on.
51 ArcrftLvr : Really? I've been on several Delta flights where the lights are turned on just prior to landing. I recall several flights from ATL-PHX and ATL-LAX wh
52 CokePopper : Just prior to landing the lights will be turned on so the F/A's can see to do their final safety checks, however they should be dimmed for the actual
53 Rwy04LGA : Last month ATL-LGA, a DL Captain said as much when announcing dimmed lights.
54 VHXLR8 : Procedure at QF is to dim the lights for takeoff and landing, and there is set levels for each aircraft type. This though, has been a faily 'recent'
55 David21487 : Yeah, it means "wake up, we're landing." Like CokePopper said, they're usually turned on when we're on final approach. This is done so that flight at
56 Elite : Not when I travel CX and SQ!!
57 Planesarecool : I flew into Manchester on a Thomas Cook A321 on Tuesday night, and the cabin crew made the announcement that the cabin lights would be dimmed, and the
58 Flyfree727 : EXACTLY!!! if its early evening, we turn the lights to dim during final prepare for landing, and then usually turn themback off for landing. however,
59 ArcrftLvr : I don't think I was very clear in my statement. When I said they turned the lights on prior to landing, I should have also said they then leave them
60 Flyfree727 : Thats because there is no safety regulation (FAR) that says lights have to be on or off during final descent and landing. As I stated in a previous p
61 ArcrftLvr : Got it. Makes perfect sense.
62 Argonaut : Just try being in an accident and see what REALLY happens. More than likely, the lights will suddenly go OUT. At that point, you'll probably be extre
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