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Flight Deck Lighting At Night  
User currently offlineNWOrientDC10 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1404 posts, RR: 4
Posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 6178 times:
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It takes the human eye about 30 min. to adjust to darkness.

I was under the impression that flight decks use red lighting.

When I took anatomy/physiology over twenty years ago, it was taught that red light is the least disturbing to night vision.

I'm unsure of lighting in commercial a/c "today"

Which color lighting is used at night during flight?

 Smile

Russell


Things aren't always as they seem
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirbusA346 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 7437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6139 times:

As far as I know, they use standard lighting, which light up the nessercery areas of the cockpit, like the panels.

The pilots also have reading lights in the overhead panel.

Main light on the panels.

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Reading Lights - you can see them on the left and right side of the photo.

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Tom.



Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
User currently offlineFr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5394 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6055 times:

Some older aircraft I've worked (DC8, B727) have a red area light, but all the instrument lighting is 'normal' lighting.

When I taxi aircraft at night, I turn down the area lighting and bring the instrument lighting up to a level that I can see without strain.

There is a switch on most flight decks that's called the light override or storm switch. This switch normally turns on all the area lighting. This is normally used during lightning storms where frquent flashes destroy night vision.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineMatt72033 From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 1617 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5962 times:

Quoting Fr8mech (Reply 2):
hen I taxi aircraft at night, I turn down the area lighting and bring the instrument lighting up to a level that I can see without strain.

i thought at night your supposed to turn the instruments down.....as they show up brighter.....and have them high when its light?


User currently offlineFr8Mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5394 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5933 times:

Quoting Matt72033 (Reply 3):
thought at night your supposed to turn the instruments down.....as they show up brighter.....and have them high when its light?

I didn't say I turned them up all the way, I bring them up to a level that is comfortable. Very rarely, if ever is that level very far above full dim.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1644 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5869 times:
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Most cockpits have 2 different sets of light. On the ground there are overhead lights that light up the cockpit like the interior lights of a car. In flight almost all the panels and instruments are backlit, again just like the instrument and radio lights in a car.

These backlit light lights are controlled by a rheostat for dimming, in clouds during the day the pilots might have them all the way up, but during flight at night they can dim them as much as they need to. Each pilot controls their own instrument lights

Some instruments that do not have back lighting have eyebrow lights, these are little hoods that are next to the gauges that shines a light just on the gauge and are dimmable with the rest of the lights. These are found on older jets and small airplanes.

The pilots also have adjustable spot lights or map lights to shine just on their maps, these are dimmable and can have a red filter on them for night vision.


User currently offlineN600RR From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5832 times:

Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Thread starter):
When I took anatomy/physiology over twenty years ago, it was taught that red light is the least disturbing to night vision.

You might be interested in this page on the Photo Micro-Light website describing the benefits/weaknesses of different LED beam colors:

http://www.photonlight.com/more_info/choosing_color.html

They claim that red is best for night vision preservation, followed by turquoise. They also suggest that orange seems to be a good compromise between red (night vision) and yellow (illumination), which only makes sense.

My car (BMW) and motorcycle (Honda) both use some version of red or orange for the instruments. I don't know anything about the human-eye physiology behind it -- probably something to do with color spectrum wavelengths and cones and rods -- but I prefer those colors for driving at night.



"And the fluffy white lines that the airplane leaves behind are drifting right in front of the waning of the moon" -Cake
User currently offlineJspitfire From Canada, joined Feb 2005, 308 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5818 times:

In small planes, such as the Cessna 172s I fly, there is just one dim red light shining from the ceiling on the instruments, and really this is all you need. Most of the instruments are not backlit, and different colors can be harder to see, but overall it works quite well.

Jason


User currently offlineNWOrientDC10 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1404 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 5806 times:
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Quoting N600RR (Reply 6):
turquoise.

First, thanks for the link.  Smile

It's interesting you mention turquoise. As I mentioned, I was under the impression that flight decks use red lighting. I saw it in 72S a/c. When I was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY (early 1990's) we did training training missions on UH-60-A "Black Hawk" helicopters. The Black Hawks used turquoise/aqua lighting at night (I think UH-1H Hueys had red lighting).

I brought up this topic because I was wondering if there was flight deck lighting other than red (aqua or even dark blue to be specific).

Thanks for the info. everyone.  Smile

Good day  Smile

Russell



Things aren't always as they seem
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17017 posts, RR: 67
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5720 times:

Quoting N600RR (Reply 6):
My car (BMW) and motorcycle (Honda) both use some version of red or orange for the instruments. I don't know anything about the human-eye physiology behind it -- probably something to do with color spectrum wavelengths and cones and rods -- but I prefer those colors for driving at night.

SAAB has the best system IMHO. The "Night Panel" button will turn off all the instruments except the speedometer and very faint outlines around the buttons. I thought this was a pointless and silly feature until I tried it on a dark road. By turning everything off inside the car I could see much more clearly outside. If some instrument wants your attention it lights up for 6-7 seconds. For example if you rev of 4500 rpm that gauge lights up. If you mess with the climate control that display lights up. It's amazingly good.

SAAB claims this system was inspired by aviation. Any thoughts on that?

Quoting N600RR (Reply 6):

They claim that red is best for night vision preservation, followed by turquoise.

Turquoise is used by Audi and VW.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5713 times:

Some of the old planes I flew many moons ago had red instrument lights but I was always told that red once considered the best for night vision also blocked certain colors from being seen and the use of "normal" white light at low intensities has proven to be the best all round. Consider the "glass screens" nowdays where the screen is completely internally lit with a myrid of colors.

User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 24
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5653 times:

Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Thread starter):
It takes the human eye about 30 min. to adjust to darkness.

Thats what the books write and I am sure its anotomically true.

In the real life however its little bit different.A little example from my flight last sunday.We departed 21:00 Pm from Ýstanbul to Paris approximetely 3 hour long flight, after reaching to the cruise altitude we turn on the dome light to Bright to have a more lighted and comfortable work environment and reduce the change of feeling sleepy inside the darkness.Eyes on the other hand get adjusted way quicker than what really writes in the books,I generally turn it to DIM as we start descent and sometimes dont turn it off until established to the ILS.Even then the eyes match up with the lighting conditions.



Widen your world
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17017 posts, RR: 67
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5611 times:

Quoting Wing (Reply 11):
Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Thread starter):
It takes the human eye about 30 min. to adjust to darkness.

Thats what the books write and I am sure its anotomically true.

As Wing writes, this is not the perception. Having done my 12 months in the Swedish Army, I had do to quite a bit of running about at night, so I have experienced all this night vision stuff first hand.


The central point here is that while it takes 30 minutes for the eye to completely adjust to darkness (and only a or two second to de-adjust) this is not a linear process. Most of the adjustment occurs in the first few seconds (as your pupil expands to take in more light). After 5-10 minutes or so, you're most of the way there. The remaining 20 minutes to the point total adjustment contain a very small proportion of the actual adjustment.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineN600RR From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5585 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
SAAB claims this system was inspired by aviation. Any thoughts on that?

...Hmmm, absolutely no idea how they came up with that claim  sarcastic 


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"And the fluffy white lines that the airplane leaves behind are drifting right in front of the waning of the moon" -Cake
User currently offlineN600RR From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5574 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
If some instrument wants your attention it lights up for 6-7 seconds. For example if you rev of 4500 rpm that gauge lights up. If you mess with the climate control that display lights up. It's amazingly good.

Just "good"?!? It sounds positively dreamy!!  biggrin 

I should probably stay away from it though just to be safe...I'm sure I wouldn't be able to keep my attention on the road  hypnotized  and crash the first time I drove it at night.



"And the fluffy white lines that the airplane leaves behind are drifting right in front of the waning of the moon" -Cake
User currently offlineTEBguy From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 255 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5408 times:

Not avation, but... my 1986 BMW 5 series uses red illumination for everything. The instruments arent backlit, but have a red light shining on them from the top of the cluster. The climate control & windows switches are also red. Very effective at night.


Remember, taking off is optional, landing is mandatory.
User currently offlineOnetogo From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 314 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5405 times:

Quoting Fr8mech (Reply 2):
There is a switch on most flight decks that's called the light override or storm switch. This switch normally turns on all the area lighting. This is normally used during lightning storms where frquent flashes destroy night vision.

Can someone elaborate on this please? I've been searching for an answer to what precisely that "storm light" switch is.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17017 posts, RR: 67
Reply 17, posted (8 years 6 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5392 times:

Quoting N600RR (Reply 13):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
SAAB claims this system was inspired by aviation. Any thoughts on that?

...Hmmm, absolutely no idea how they came up with that claim

LOL! Well yes I am well aware of the whole aviation heritage, I just wondered whether aircraft have similar systems. That is lighting up just one instrument.


Another thing is the lock position between the seats. When I get in a rental nowadays I always seem to gouge the plastic by my right hip with the key

Quoting N600RR (Reply 14):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
If some instrument wants your attention it lights up for 6-7 seconds. For example if you rev of 4500 rpm that gauge lights up. If you mess with the climate control that display lights up. It's amazingly good.

Just "good"?!? It sounds positively dreamy!!

Ok yes it is in fact dreamy. An amazingly good feature which I wish all cars had...

Here's a pic


Here's another pic, but in this case the entire speedometer is lit. There's an option to just light up to 100 mpg (unless you go faster, in which case the rest lights up).


Another fun feature is that not only do the lights go off, on the newer SAABs all the indicators needles (gas, revs, temp) actually drop to zero.

[Edited 2006-02-25 00:00:05]


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineN600RR From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 6 months 23 hours ago) and read 5344 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 17):
Another thing is the lock position between the seats.

I've often wondered about that...does SAAB claim that is inspired by aviation as well?

I know we are straying off-topic, but:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 17):
Another fun feature is that not only do the lights go off, on the newer SAABs all the indicators needles (gas, revs, temp) actually drop to zero.

Other than manually disarming the "night panel" function, I presume that these will only illuminate and indicate when fuel, for example, is low?



"And the fluffy white lines that the airplane leaves behind are drifting right in front of the waning of the moon" -Cake
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17017 posts, RR: 67
Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 months 11 hours ago) and read 5258 times:

Quoting N600RR (Reply 18):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 17):
Another thing is the lock position between the seats.

I've often wondered about that...does SAAB claim that is inspired by aviation as well?

Yes they do.

Quoting N600RR (Reply 18):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 17):
Another fun feature is that not only do the lights go off, on the newer SAABs all the indicators needles (gas, revs, temp) actually drop to zero.

Other than manually disarming the "night panel" function, I presume that these will only illuminate and indicate when fuel, for example, is low?

Exactly. To continue your example, if fuel goes down to the reserve, the yellow fuel low light will light and the fuel gauge will light up with the needle in the correct position. I have also noticed that if I rev over 4500 ( Big grin ) the engine rev meter will light up. It goes dark again after about 20-30 seconds as long as revs are back under 4500.


All in all, I find the SAAB a great car. It's similar in outlook to BMW (centered on the driver and so forth) but about 30% cheaper for equivalent equipment level. In the US the GM factory lease on the SAAB is very good. We are probably going to buy a second SAAB very soon (9-3 SportSedan to go with our 9-3 Convertible). SAAB at $32k MSRP with 1500 down gives you a montly payment of $344 for a 27 month lease. Compare that to a BMW 325iX costing 41k, which has a montly payment of $590 (!) with a 36 month lease...



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17017 posts, RR: 67
Reply 20, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5018 times:

Found some info in Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Automobile ) on SAAB ignition location. "Floor mounted" means to "not on the steering column". As I said before the ignition is by the right hip of the driver (left hip in the UK and so forth):

Saab believes this is a safer position in case of an accident. The driver's knee often jerks upward in a collision; the compact and dense ignition module on the steeering column of many other cars has shattered many kneecaps. Second, the floor-mounted position yields more space, allowing modern Saabs to have a metal bar that rotates over and up into the ignition when the key is turned to the "Lock" position. This makes Saabs very challenging to hotwire. Last of all, the ignition is located on the floor because, in the airplanes that inspired Saab automobiles, the throttle controls were all located down on the floor.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineNoelg From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4967 times:

Quoting Onetogo (Reply 16):
Can someone elaborate on this please? I've been searching for an answer to what precisely that "storm light" switch is.

It basically turns all the flight deck lighting up to full intensity white light. Therefore when you pass through a lightning storm you don't get blinded by the flashes of light as your eyes are already adjusted.

Cheers,
Noel


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17017 posts, RR: 67
Reply 22, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4946 times:

Quoting Noelg (Reply 21):
Quoting Onetogo (Reply 16):
Can someone elaborate on this please? I've been searching for an answer to what precisely that "storm light" switch is.

It basically turns all the flight deck lighting up to full intensity white light. Therefore when you pass through a lightning storm you don't get blinded by the flashes of light as your eyes are already adjusted.

Ah. So you can still read the instruments because they are so bright. If they had been dimmed you would not have been able to read them.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1122 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4938 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Our club Reims Rocket has a rather rare lighting system for GA aircraft. The gauges themselves are not backlit, nor do they have any (working) external individual lighting bulbs. The only light in the cockpit comes from an overhead neon lamp, that shines out in a dimmed light blue with some dark purple overtones. When turned on, the whole cockpit is bathed in a non-intrusive blue, which accents the instrument white needles and markings (though I got the impression that it's just an accent, rather than an UV effect as on some military aircraft). Instruments that do have parts coated with UV reflecting material will shine out very nicely (like the ADF in the pic).



Though I have limited experience in flying in low-light conditions, the system actually works nicely and you can, at least I can, rather quickly adapt to outside conditions. It can become a bit stressing for the eyes on longer flights though, since the instruments then lack sharpness and you have to strain to read them off correctly.



No plane, no gain.
User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2546 posts, RR: 24
Reply 24, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4745 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 19):
Exactly. To continue your example, if fuel goes down to the reserve, the yellow fuel low light will light and the fuel gauge will light up with the needle in the correct position. I have also noticed that if I rev over 4500 ( ) the engine rev meter will light up. It goes dark again after about 20-30 seconds as long as revs are back under 4500.

I'd hate that. Too clever by half. Would put me off buying a SAAB. Sounds like the original Boeing EICAS philosophy, where secondary engine instruments are only displayed if they exceed limits, or during engine start, unless you manually select them.



The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
25 Post contains images Starlionblue : It's a voluntary thing. If you don't like it just avoid pressing "Night Panel". Then all the instruments are lit at all times just like in any other
26 AAR90 : Depends upon the cockpit design as to what lighting is turned to full intensity. In most civilian cockpits it turns on the white flood lighting throu
27 Post contains images Starlionblue : Ok going to pick up the new SAAB now
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