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Flashing Landing Lights  
User currently offlineNomad_ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1549 times:

Hi everybody,

last week I saw an aircraft (small business or regional jet; unfortunatley it was late in the evening so I didn't see enough to identify the plane clearly) 3 mi out and approaching Rwy 05 at HAM with two flashing landing lights on (we are not talking about the strobes here I mean real bright landing lights pointing in forward direction). As I never saw this before I did some research on the web and found that this is a quite new feature applied to some planes. It is said to improve the safety as flashing lights are more easily seen than steady ones.

Now how common are flashing landing lights now ? Is it really a thing which we will see in the future on every plane ? Are there any studies that show that these flashing lights really improve the safety ?

Your thoughts are welcome.

Greetings,

Nomad.

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIainhol From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1403 times:

I have only seen it on Southwest planes, and biz jets, however it could go main stream soon!
Iain


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29800 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1382 times:

There a number of small aircraft that have been retrofitted with the flashing lights.....

Mainly because the owners think it is very cool looking.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1347 times:

It's been around for a number of years now, mainly on personal aircraft. It's good because it aids in spotting the plane (flashing lights draw attention better than steady ones), and bad because it decreases the life span of those astonishingly expensive landing lights.  Big thumbs up


09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
User currently offlineIainhol From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1338 times:

Ralgha it does not it actually increases them, the lights do not flush just go from dim to bright very quickly, this means they last longer, and make it more visable!
Iain


User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1321 times:

We've had those flashing lights installed on our corporate aircraft for over 10 years now. As Lain said, they don't turn the lights on and off, rather they vary the intensity continously between about 30% and 100%. The net effect is that the average filiment temperature of the bulb is lowered by about 40% thus dramatically increasing the life of the bulb. Sorry L-188, but you got it wrong - very few things are added to aircraft just because it happens to look "cool". This mod was done for purely economic reasons. Our landing light life expectancy has increased 10X to 20X - the increased visability that they provide us with is a very nice bonus.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29800 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1300 times:

Jetguy......

I wasn't talking about WN or HP or any other airline doing it.

I was refering to Joe Shmuck in his 180 or Super Cub. Quite a number of guys do put them on the A/C because they look cool. Economics in some way don't matter as much to them.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineT prop From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1029 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 1275 times:

We had this system on some of the Twin Otters we flew years ago. There was a seperate switch for it, when you turned it on with the landing lights on they would alternately pulse off and on. I remember the label next to the light switch saying 'pulse light'.

T prop.


User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 1264 times:

Hi guys. This subject was discussed a few months ago, which I was glad about because I had often wondered about these pulsating landing lights too. I remember that someone said the reason the lights would be selected to start pulsating, was for the purpose of being better a "scaring away birds!" I found that statement pretty interesting. Maybe it can help that way. I know that if I was a bird, just hanging around at the end of a runway, chewing on some worms, crapping all over the threshold with all my buddies, and I suddenly saw some bright lights pulsating back and forth as they got closer and closer, I'd Take Off!!

Hi there Jetguy. I was wondering, when you are flying at "night", do the pulsating landing lights cause any visual problems when you are close to the ground on very short final and coming over the numbers? Or if your final approach is in IMC? I'm basically talking about mental distraction caused by the lights alternating from side to side.

Chris








"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineJT-8D From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 423 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 1260 times:

Our newer 737s have these also. As stated, they are supposed to be easier to see..JT

User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 4 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 1255 times:

The pulse lights don't bother me at night, but they do seem to bother one or two of our pilots - it's pretty much an individual thing I guess. The illusion can be a bit disorienting when flying through clouds. As far as night operations go, we turn the lights on "steady" for takeoff and go to "pulse" just as soon after takeoff as we can. The lights are left in "pulse" on climbout through 18,000'. On descent, they are turned on passing through 18,000'. They are turned to "steady" at the captain's descretion when the aircraft is on short final. During the day, the lights go to "pulse" once we've received our takeoff clearance and we've taken the runway. Again, they on always on at FL180 and below. They are turned off after clearing the runway. We used to go through a case or two of landing lights per year per airplane prior to installing the system on our aircraft. Now it's just 2 or 3 bulbs per year - they last forever now. It's been a pretty significant savings.

User currently offlineJT-8D From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 423 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1245 times:

Hate to say this, but the quickest way to kill bulbs is to turn them on and off..JT

User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (13 years 4 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1239 times:

JT...
You're absolutely correct, but that's not how the pulse light mod works. Read one of my previous posts, I explained how the system works. The pulsing isn't on and off, rather the lights are dimmed continously between about 30% and 100%. (The system is simply an automatic reostat for the landing light circuit.) The net effect is that the average filiment temperature of the bulb is lowered by about 40% thus dramatically (10X to 20X) increasing the life of the bulb. As they say, "Works good, saves a lot of money, lasts a long time."
WH


User currently offlineWindshear From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 2330 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (13 years 4 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 1224 times:

I really hope your kidding, cuz if I knew that the airline I was flying with, was flashing his landing lights in order to save the bulb from overheating...I would try another airline.
Landing lights are used from take off to at about 10 000 feet, and then again from the point where the glide slope becomes alive.
Thos 30 min max in total is not really worth saving...
And if I knew an airline that would rather flash their lights and save 40% of a light bulbs life seems to me as if they do not want to pay for maintenence, not really reasuring.

I know that you have to fight unnecessary stress of systems, especially the engines, but to go from that and to try and pump the bulbs to the fullest in order to save some $ on LIGHT BULBS!!! I mean is it for a purposed that the planes have those lights, or is it just a tradition?!!
If it is for a purpose then why try and save some measly money instead of trying to save or improve where it really matters.




"If you believe breaking is possible, believe in fixing also"-Rebbe Nachman
User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (13 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1230 times:

Windshear...
I'm sorry that you just don't get it. Our company manual requires us to operate our lights at FL180 and below as recognition lights. (This is a VERY common practice here in the States.) The pulse lights dramatically increase their effectiveness in this role during daylight hours. From an "increased safety" point of view they are well worth the price of the kit. Economically, they make even more sense - that's why they are so popular and getting more so. These light bulbs cost (if you buy them by the case) in the neighborhood of $75 each. Prior to the pulse light mod we were literally going through several cases of them per year in each of our airplanes. That wasn't the only cost though, the landing lights sit behind plastic covers and each time they were replaced the cover had to be moved and resealed. It takes 24 hours for the sealant to cure - time that the airplane is effectively out of service. From a pilot's point of view the increased visibility that they provide is great. Our maintenance department likes the fact that they cut down on their overall work load and our bean counters like the fact that they save a significant amount of money. (And you're correct - they hate to pay for UNNECESSARY AND AVOIDABLE maintence, but they do.) Overall, it's basically a win-win situation. I hate to say this, but this forum is for "professionals and knowlegable amateurs" and your comments (and member profile) indicate that you are neither. I recommend that you listen up - there's a lot that you can learn from the people on this forum.


User currently offlineJT-8D From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 423 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (13 years 4 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1212 times:

Jetguy, I wasnt aware of the dimming part of it. I thought it completely shut off power. What you said makes sence to a point. We dont seal any of our landing light covers. What type of planes do you operate? Is it required on your fleet? If we did, we would use 1422b 1/2 and it would be read to fly in 2 hrs. I think what windshear was saying (although he could have read the post a little better maybe) is that to flash the lights to save lamps (which we pay $18usd) was a bad idea. Lets not turn this into a bloodbath over lightbulbs, ok?..JT

User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (13 years 4 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1205 times:

Sorry guys, just having a bad day.


User currently offlinePW4084 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (13 years 4 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1200 times:

to add another log to the fire.......

I can also attest to the enhanced attention that the pulsing recog/landing lights draws from other airplanes in the vicinity.


User currently offlineDnalor From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 369 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (13 years 4 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1182 times:

Ever noticed emergency vehicles on the road and track use a strobe version of this in their head lamps?

I think its a good idea


User currently offlineWindshear From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 2330 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (13 years 4 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1168 times:

JETGUY I really hope that you just had a bad day cuz if that's your tone around here, I'am sure as hell not the one who should leave this forum.
You really hurt my feelings cuz all that I stated was my opinion on what you guys told me, I did not say that you were wrong, nor that I new better.
I commented to what I felt or thought when I read why some airlines use em.

I do not think that I have to prove how much I know about airplanes, but I only answer stuff that I know about...If you checked my other replies in this forum.
On this subject I had no clue to what it was, but I was surprised to hear that they would save on bulbs, and to hear such misunderstood and deffensive words about how good it is to save and spare systems (on which I totally agree on) from an American, I'am just not used to you guys worrying about misuse of power:O)

If changing lights is so big adeal, then it is wise to save them, but it just sounded greedy, for an airline to try and save some 18-75$ doesn't sound reasuring, meaning that it seems to me that maintenence is a part where they would like to save as much money as possible...Which isn't good, that's what I felt when I read your replies.




"If you believe breaking is possible, believe in fixing also"-Rebbe Nachman
User currently offlineJT-8D From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 423 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (13 years 4 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1166 times:

Ok, lets get a few things straight. First, Jetguy appologised for his comments, so you two be friends--lol. Second, the change to the light system was done for safety, not for cost savings. Third, your comments are always welcome, and I think jetguy would agree. We are not here to hurt anyones feelings, or to argue. There are a few people who think they know everything, those are the ones to stay away from. There are no "experts" here, and anyone who says they are, is full of it--lol. I think the problem started because you thought we were saying the lights were changed to save money. Everyone needs to calm down, me included..JT

User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (13 years 4 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1164 times:

Windshear:
Again, I apologise but...
I say again, the airline pulse light systems have been installed primarily for economic not safety reasons. The increased visability is just a welcomed by-product. Don't let this surprise you. There are a lot of safety enhancing additions that corporate / general aviation guys have had for years that the airlines don't incorporate because it doesn't make financial sense to them. For example - there are a great deal of airliners out there that don't have the avionics packages that many new single-engine aircraft have. If you don't believe me, just take a look in the cockpit of your typical B737, B727, MD80, etc. They're flying antiques. The newer airliners are finally catching up, but it's taken them years. Another example, I just returned from a weather radar school taught by a retired TWA captain. We were discussing our weather avoidance equipment verses theirs. Many corporate aircraft have in addition to the standard weather radar a piece of equipment known as a spherics detector. This retired captain commented several times how he couldn't believe that the majors hadn't incorporated "storm scopes" into their avionics packages. From a safety standpoint, not having the equipment made absolutely no sense to him. Several years ago, when I was flying for a major airline our chief pilot tried to get them installed on our aircraft - to no avail - too costly (Average installation was about $15,000) Airlines are a VERY competitive business and as a result a lot of valuable stuff is slow to come on line. Oh well, got to go.


User currently offlineWindshear From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 2330 posts, RR: 11
Reply 22, posted (13 years 4 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1150 times:

JT-8D you too cool a guy:O)
It's really nice to have a diplomat, and to hear that my postings or replies are always welcome is very nice to hear, it gives me a kind of feeling at home hear, which is the point of this site, right...?
It seems as if people tend to fight or scream out loud when only trying to make a point, and that can make replying seem kinda scary, cuz the fear of being hit to the ground by others is always in the air, sometimes...
But to hear you say that I'am welcome over shaddows other negative experiences on some of the forums.
For this I'am putting you on my respected list, and is forever grateful:O)

JETGUY an appology is not what I was after, don't see me as a calculating person :O)

I totally agree with you, I only made that statement after reding, or maybe wrongly concluding, that some airlines do this out of pure economical reasons, which sounds extremely capitalistc to me, that's why I said what I said...And do not worry people we ARE friends I'am jsut trying to say to JETGUY that I do believe him.

So basically I believe you and have never doubted what you said to be true, never, I only wanted to say my opinion on what I on a first glance got from the replies.
That what I thought you ment, was misunderstood is a whole other story...So I agree and even see the point in flashing Landing lights.

Many sunshine greating from summerfilled Copenhagen.



"If you believe breaking is possible, believe in fixing also"-Rebbe Nachman
User currently offlineLGB From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (13 years 4 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1148 times:

flash their lights and save 40% of a light bulbs life seems to me as if they do not want to pay for maintenence

Remember also that maintenance can not be done in flight no matter how much you are willing to spend. If a bulb burns out you can not have it replaced until you're on the ground again. Maybe marginal but having the bulbs last longer should add to safety also from that point of view.

Lars


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