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When To Land With The Lights?  
User currently offlineTarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4525 times:


the airline pros...

i sometimes notice that on approach, the pilot hit the landing lights on quite late...

is there a special time according to the REGULATIONS when the light must go on?

what if you are not in the pattern and somewhere 30 miles inbound, can you still have the landing lights on?

what if the weather if extremely bad, poor visibility and stuff, can the light go on for recognition purposes?? (take into consideration the A/C isn't equipped with Recognition lights...


15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSushka From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 4784 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4478 times:

Below 10,000 ft the landing light has to be on.

If the plane is in IMC it is recomended to swich off some lights.

Pershoyu Spravoyu Litaki!
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3579 posts, RR: 44
Reply 2, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4383 times:

...is there a special time according to the REGULATIONS when the light must go on?

I am unaware of any government regulation controlling use of landing lights. AA policy says: "Operation LIGHTS ON is a voluntary FAA safety program encouraging use of aircraft external lights to enhance the see-and-avoid concept."

AA policy further states: "Landing Lights - turn on after takeoff clearance is received and the aircraft is on the active runway (across the hold line). Turn off after takeoff at the Captain's discretion." Translated that means after takeoff use of landing lights is solely at Captain's discretion.

*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineFBU 4EVER! From Norway, joined Jan 2001, 998 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4366 times:

No clear rules regarding LANDING LIGHTS usage.Even here in SAS,there are as many personal operational interpretations as there are captains.Usually,we turn them on when receiving take-off clearance and turn them off when gear is retracted and a bird hazard does not exist any more.Birds seem to react against artificial light;most (not all) of my birdstrikes have happened with the landing lights off!
I turn them on again when landing clearance has been received,though not later than 500 feet above ground level.In foggy conditions I leave the nose landing light off or in dim position,as opposed to bright.(MD-80/90)
We have another set of lights,ground flood lights or runway turn-off lights.We keep these on until passing 10,000 feet and turn them on again at this level when descending.Many pilots,including me,keep them on for longer periods than this in crowded airspace,i.e. near LHR,CDG,FRA,etc.

"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6805 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4312 times:

Climbing or descending at any time of day, our company policy is to have the landing lights on. At night, around 1500ft or 1000ft on approach we will also turn on the other lights i.e. nose light, taxi light, runway turnoffs, so we are landing with all the lights on (Apart from the wing light). Departing at night we also have all the lights on, and they will be switched off at around 3000ft during the climbout.

User currently offlineGE From Singapore, joined Mar 2000, 320 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4184 times:

Hi Cx flyboy,
When then would you turn on the wing lights? Thanks.

User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1737 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4140 times:

As Ernie Gann said regarding lights, "Why not? The electricity is free."

I turn the landing lights on any time I'm in a high traffic environment.

User currently offlineBeechcraft From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 828 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4115 times:

our policy is landings lights on anytime below FL100.
They are switched on receiving T/O clearance.
We´re additionally swichting on the taxi lights when we receive landing clearance.

maybe that helps,



That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4078 times:

"Why not? The electricity is free."

Electricity is not free. It is provided by Battery (Which cost money to replace)
It is provided by APU which uses fuel which costs money
It is provided by Engine power which in time wears, costs fuel which costs money.

As my Economics teacher said TINSTAAFL
There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch = There is a cost associated with everything. so reply to this post and get a free gift

must pay shipping

User currently offlineJjbiv From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1226 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4056 times:

What's the cost of not being "seen and avoided"? From an economics perspective, there indeed may not be a free lunch, however, from an analytic perspective, the cost may closely approximate free if the opportunity cost (to use another econ. term) is orders of magnitude larger than the monetary cost which lessens the frequency of having to realize said opportunity cost.

Not the easiest thing in the world to understand, but picking the right framework for analysis is more than half the battle.


User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6805 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4037 times:


The wings lights are more for inspection purposes for the crew rather than for identification to other aircraft. If we are departing in icing conditions at night, then I will turn on the wing lights to check the condition of the wing before we depart.
However, in places like Mumbai, where there is a badly lit cross runway and very bad ATC, I like to switch on ALL the lights crossing the runway and especially when back tracking on the active, and in this case I will turn on the wing light also, but otherwise it hardly gets used.

User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4503 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4022 times:

BR715-A1-30, I have another saying for you:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

My general operating rules:

Landing lights on when:
1. On the runway and cleared for takeoff
2. Climbing or descending
3. Maneuvering
4. Traffic assistance (if someone is looking for my aircraft/I'm looking for someone, I'll turn it on to help the other guy acquire me)
5. Entire flight when I'm not talking to anyone

I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3993 times:

All of our aircraft have a "pulse light" system installed. This system flashed the landing lights. Landing light use is always at the discretion of the PIC. We typically run the lights as follows:
Taxi light at PIC's discretion while moving on the ramp and taxiways.
Upper anti collision beacon - ON
Position Lights - ON
Upon taking active runway for takeoff we turn on the landing light to pulse mode, turn on both upper and lower anti collision beacons, and the wingtip and tail strobes, and the taxi light. The wing inspection light comes on as well. Basically, anything that gives of light is turned on except for the tail "logo light" (You can't see it any way.)

The taxi light is mounted on the nose wheel and is turned off when the gear is retracted. The inspection light is turned off at the PIC's discretion and the pulse lights are left on at all times below FL180.

Night time:
The same as daytime with the following exceptions:
Landing lights are selected ON (verses "Pulse") when taking the runway for takeoff. They are selected to Pulse once the aircraft is in the enroute climb configuration. On approach the landing lights are initially pulsed and then STEADY approaching the FAF inbound or at the PIC's discretion. The landing lights may be turned off for landing depending upon the visibility at the runway. There are times when landing in foggy conditions at night that they do more harm than good. That option, of course, is up to the PIC.


User currently offlineUTA_flyinghigh From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 6495 posts, RR: 48
Reply 13, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3978 times:

uh, when it's dark Big grin

Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
User currently offlineGE From Singapore, joined Mar 2000, 320 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3897 times:

Thanks Cx Flyboy.


User currently offlineWilliam From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1652 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3869 times:

On the flights I am on,I have noticed usually when entering TRACON airspace the landing lights come on. Then again on a short flight say....from IAH-AUS in high clouds the pilot may leave them on(yes,I have seen this) for the whole duration of the flight.

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