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Beacon Light During Flight  
User currently offlineEaa3 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19133 times:

I am wondering about the beacon light.

It comes on once the aircraft is active on the ground i.e. whenever the aircraft is moving or has it´s engines on. Inflight the strobe light is turned on. However I have noticed, or at least I think so, that during cruise the beacon light is turned off. Is this true. You can often see the reflection from the beacon on the engine and such should be able to tell whether it is on or not.

Thanks in advance.

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJBo From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 2381 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19085 times:

The beacon lights always remain on as a means of aircraft identification. The same is true for the wing and tail strobe lights.

The only exception to this that I am aware of is turning off the strobes in IMC during approach.



I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
User currently offlineFlydeltasjets From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19082 times:

Nope, not true. The beacon stays on until we block in.

User currently offlineNASBWI From Bahamas, joined Feb 2005, 1320 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19069 times:

I've noticed sometimes that the strobe light might be turned off in continuous cloud cover, but usually the beacon light is kept on - particularly at night. My guess is to alert other traffic of your proximity. In the daytime, however, it may be difficult to determine whether or not the beacons and/or strobes are on - at least from a cabin point of view.


Fierce, Fabulous, and Flawless ;)
User currently offlineAF1624 From France, joined Jul 2006, 665 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19029 times:

Well if I remember correctly it's :

- Red beacon on when engines on, and off when aircraft parked at the gate
- Strobe lights on when entering the runway, off when exiting the runway after landing (they remain on during the whole flight)
- Landing lights on when entering the runway, and off at 10.000 feet or when exiting the runway
- Taxi lights whenever required
- Wing flood lights and tail logo lights as required and according to company specs

Is this correct ? That's the way I remember it anyway...

[Edited 2009-12-03 09:17:09]


Cheers
User currently offlineMd88captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1338 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 18962 times:

The beacon stays on from block in to block out. Strobes vary, but mostly from takeoff to clearing the landing runway. Landing lights (and all lights for max illumination) when crossing an active runway. Logo lights are always a good idea in the air.

User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5755 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 18854 times:



Quoting Eaa3 (Thread starter):
However I have noticed, or at least I think so, that during cruise the beacon light is turned off. Is this true.

Nope. The red flashing beacon light above and below the airplane stay on from push to engine shut down and chocks on at the gate. This is true of any airplane, from a Piper Cub to an A380.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineB727fan From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 317 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 18771 times:

Sorry, I have a question about lights as well. I noticed many Southwest planes have landing lights that alter in intensity (Left bright, Right dim, then the other way around) saw this in Burbank and Houston. Are these per "carrier specs." or controlled by the pilot? Any reason for this?
Also, when do usually the landing lights come on during approach?

Thank You


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21882 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 18766 times:



Quoting Md88captain (Reply 5):
Logo lights are always a good idea in the air.

Why would this be? It would seem that they would be most effective on the ground (both for marketing and identifiability for other pilots and ATC), but once in the air it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference due to the presence of all the other lights.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMIgAiR54 From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 1925 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18719 times:



Quoting Mir (Reply 8):
Why would this be? It would seem that they would be most effective on the ground (both for marketing and identifiability for other pilots and ATC), but once in the air it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference due to the presence of all the other lights.

They are on to allow other pilots to see you easily, especially during the night.

Quoting B727fan (Reply 7):
Also, when do usually the landing lights come on during approach?

Landing lights below 10.000´ and taxi lights when gear down.

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 4):
Well if I remember correctly it's :

- Red beacon on when engines on, and off when aircraft parked at the gate
- Strobe lights on when entering the runway, off when exiting the runway after landing (they remain on during the whole flight)
- Landing lights on when entering the runway, and off at 10.000 feet or when exiting the runway
- Taxi lights whenever required
- Wing flood lights and tail logo lights as required and according to company specs

Is this correct ? That's the way I remember it anyway...

[Edited 2009-12-03 09:17:09]

You have a very good memory.....

Quoting NASBWI (Reply 3):
I've noticed sometimes that the strobe light might be turned off in continuous cloud cover

Yes, because is very annoying in the cockpit. Also sometimes landing lights are off when we are in dense clouds and during the night.


User currently offlineCvg2lga From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 635 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18711 times:



Quoting B727fan (Reply 7):
Sorry, I have a question about lights as well. I noticed many Southwest planes have landing lights that alter in intensity (Left bright, Right dim, then the other way around) saw this in Burbank and Houston. Are these per "carrier specs." or controlled by the pilot? Any reason for this?
Also, when do usually the landing lights come on during approach?

I asked this the first time I saw an aircraft landing with alternating landing lights. The reasons given were that the lights last longer than with continuous usage. Also they supposedly make birds more aware of an aircraft approaching.

Tchau

DA-



They don't call em' emergencies anymore. They call em' Patronies.
User currently offlineC767P From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 893 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18669 times:



Quoting B727fan (Reply 7):
I noticed many Southwest planes have landing lights that alter in intensity (Left bright, Right dim, then the other way around) saw this in Burbank and Houston. Are these per "carrier specs." or controlled by the pilot? Any reason for this?

I believe they are pulsating landing lights. Controlled by the pilot and I read they are only available on some 737s, not older -300s and not the NGs.

I have also seen business jets with pulsating lights, but off the top of my head don’t remember which types.

It is easier to see the plane with pulsating landing lights, and I would think it might help the life of the light.


User currently offlineLuftfahrer From Germany, joined Mar 2009, 1044 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18628 times:



Quoting AF1624 (Reply 4):
- Landing lights on when entering the runway, and off at 10.000 feet or when exiting the runway

Can also be company dependent: A Delta Captain (B757/B767) told me they leave the landing lights on until FL180.
Another example: An easyjet pilot wrote that he usually switches the ldg lts off after take off, and on when he's on the final turn (it's a credible source). EZY, of course, flies far off any FAA controlled area.
However, 10 000' feet is a good value nonetheless  Wink



'He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.' Joseph Conrad
User currently offlineDRAIGONAIR From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 708 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18577 times:

The red beacon light comes on before pushback (alert ground staff that the plane is about to move and have engines started) and switches off after engine shutdown.

Tail logo off under 10 000' (depends on company though).
Landing lights/seat belt on/off passing 10 000'

White strobe light, on when entering a runway (doesnt have to be active) and exit. They will turn it off in clouds as its not good for the eyes to have that flashing light and also can cause illusions.

cheers!

Nick



cheers
User currently offlineShizzlmizzl From Liberia, joined Apr 2009, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18577 times:

The Red Beacon is switched on when the engines are running, the aircraft is moving, flying etc...
Its a sign, that you should be beware of the aircraft. It signals ground personnel to watch out...
On some small jets you already switch on the beacon if the APU is running because of the exhaust...


User currently offlineStratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1658 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 18437 times:



Quoting DRAIGONAIR (Reply 13):
The red beacon light comes on before pushback (alert ground staff that the plane is about to move and have engines started) and switches off after engine shutdown.

Yes usually the crew will activate the red beacon lights just prior to pushback. Also they can be inop as all lights can during daylight hrs. Now at night most airlines I have worked for you can have the red beacon lights inop at night as long as the wing strobes work and vice versa. Also have to have ATLEAST one red and one green nav light and one each white tail light on each wing also must be operative at night.



NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineEaa3 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 18430 times:



Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 12):

Can also be company dependent: A Delta Captain (B757/B767) told me they leave the landing lights on until FL180.
Another example: An easyjet pilot wrote that he usually switches the ldg lts off after take off, and on when he's on the final turn (it's a credible source). EZY, of course, flies far off any FAA controlled area.
However, 10 000' feet is a good value nonetheless Wink

On the A320 series I believe that the landing light´s drop down from under the wing. On many other aircraft they are simply intergrated in the wing. Might this be a factor in A320 series pilots turning them of sooner i.e. not that it´s a problem that it sticks out but rather that they are aware of it and feel that, like the landing gear, it is not appropriate or something to keep it down for to long.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 18423 times:



Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 6):
Nope. The red flashing beacon light above and below the airplane stay on from push to engine shut down and chocks on at the gate. This is true of any airplane, from a Piper Cub to an A380.

Speaking from the GA side, not true. There is no daylight requirement to use any lights anywhere in Part 91 (USA Federal Air Regulations). In fact, many of the old Piper Cubs don't have an electrical system at all  Wink

Of course, most of us GA drivers who have been trained in the last 10 years or so do follow the same guidelines as most pro operators, and turn on the beacon (and strobes upon entering the runway environment) at engine start and off at shutdown (if the aircraft is so equipped...  Smile ). Numerous FAA stuides and advisories have concluded that beacons, strobes, and landing lights in daylight are pretty good to aid us in See and Avoid.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 18419 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 17):
There is no daylight requirement to use any lights anywhere in Part 91

I respectfully disagree. 91.209(b): (No person may) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.

This means non-working anticollision (beacon and/or strobe, as the airframe was certificated) lights render a Part 91 flight no-go under normal circumstances, day or night. Subsection a of 91.209 refers to nighttime lighting, but I believe subsection b refers to all hours.



Position and hold
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20374 posts, RR: 59
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 18391 times:



Quoting AF1624 (Reply 4):

- Red beacon on when engines on, and off when aircraft parked at the gate

I think they're turned on before the aircraft can maneuver, even if it's just being towed across the field. Unless it's parked at the gate, it's off. It usually goes on right before push.


User currently onlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1638 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 18284 times:



Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 18):
I respectfully disagree. 91.209(b): (No person may) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.

Yup, I'll agree with that. But, as my name sake would imply, I fly Diamond's a lot. They have no beacon light, and only white strobes. At night, I never turn them on until we pull on the runway. Blinds way to many other people. Also, not all airplanes have them (anti-collision/beacon lights), especially if they were certificated prior to 11 March 1996.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 18284 times:



Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 18):
I respectfully disagree. 91.209(b): (No person may) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.

Mea culpa. However, I noticed this little tidbit in the electronic CFR's:

Quote:

[Doc. No. 27806, 61 FR 5171, Feb. 9, 1996]

I got my PPL in '95...and no instructor or check airman since has popped that one on me.

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 20):
. Also, not all airplanes have them (anti-collision/beacon lights), especially if they were certificated prior to 11 March 1996.

Most Cessna "spamcans" were built with a rotating beacon. I remember turning the one in the Cessna 150H I soloed in off in daylight because if you didn't, it created a very annoying noise through the intercom (it was an electronically pulsated incandescent light behind a round red "Cop Car" lens...). Almost makes me wonder if it would qualify nowadays under this exception in § 91.209:

Quote:
(b) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.

 rotfl 



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5455 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 18189 times:



Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 20):
At night, I never turn them on until we pull on the runway.

Yes, a hot topic of discussion with some pilots, since there are now inconsistencies with the assumed rule with GA aircraft, that the anti-collisions lights are on whenever the engine is running (or about to be). I see some Diamond checklists have turning on of strobes at same time as engine start, but you are right to leave them off until takeoff (as per the FAR) if you think they're going to affect other pilots. Ironic ... you're switching off a device that is supposed to prevent collisions because it might impair pilot's vision  Wink

IMO if an aircraft can satisfy regulations by not having a rotating/flashing beacon, you should be able to turn on the alternate system at any time. Tough if it's bright strobes.

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 20):
Also, not all airplanes have them (anti-collision/beacon lights), especially if they were certificated prior to 11 March 1996.

I've never flown a GA aircraft (with an electrical system) that didn't have a beacon, and almost all were certified before that date.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 18171 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 21):
very annoying noise through the intercom

Some of the 172Ns in my club have this neat feature, too. It's noticeable, but doesn't interfere with comms.

We also have two Katanas, a Diamond Star, and a Twin Star. I fly the Diamond Star pretty often, and I usually turn the strobes on before engine start, but if it's dark or hazy, turn them back off for taxi.



Position and hold
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 18170 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 21):
I got my PPL in '95

I meant to add this: my instructor still gives me a ration if I don't buy a new set of FARs every year and put sticky notes on the important pages. I'm not studying for a new rating or giving instruction or anything, but he will jibe me at every flight review or other times I see him if I'm using last year's FARs. So I guess you are lucky  Smile



Position and hold
25 9VSIO : At our club, the beacon is left permanently on so that it will illuminate whenever the master is on. That way, we can spot if other pilots walk off le
26 Starglider : Practice over here is as follows to alert any ground traffic in the vicinity: Beacons ON when start of first engine is imminent, beacons OFF only aft
27 DiamondFlyer : I've flown one, but it was built in 1946. Aeronca Champ, but for the US Military, as an L-16. Lots of fun, but really not practical as an everyday ai
28 Post contains links and images Luftfahrer : Correct. They drop down from the underside of the wings, close to the belly. View Large View MediumPhoto © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages Not
29 KELPkid : Oh yeah, when I'm actively flying, I'll go down to Barnes and Noble or Borders and buy the new FAR/AIM. No medical at the moment, though Working on g
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