Topic Author
Posts: 1162
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2001 2:31 am

Pilots, Your Preferences

Tue Nov 23, 2004 10:59 pm

Hey, I was just thinking about things all pilots do differently, and I thought I would ask all of you what your preferences are.

Night Lighting: Medium or High intensity? On VFR, I like to use medium and on IFR I'll go High.

Landing light: On or off in the day? Its on the checklists (most), but what's the use for it in the day? Usually I'll turn it on in the day if there is traffic, otherwise I'll leave it off.

Opening an IFR flight plan: phone, ground, air? Which is your preference? I know it can very from airport to airport, but if its VFR its much easier to open in air as far as I am concerned.

Initial call at uncontrolled Fields, how far out? I like to call 10 out or so depending.

Just thought I'd ask, since I think all of these are personal preferences. Good day

23 victor, turn right heading 210, maintain 3000 till established, cleared ILS runwy 24.
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Tue Nov 23, 2004 11:21 pm

Night lighting? In the cockpit or on the runway? I keep the cockpit lighting off, the panel lights as low as I can get it. For pilot controlled lighting, I'll turn it as high as I can (after listening for a while to see if anyone is final at any airport using the CTAF freq) until I see the field, then on downwind turn it down to low. Some lights are uncomfortably bright to the point where I'm blinded.

Landing light, turn it on day or night. That way I'm consistent day or night, I won't forget it in the flow.

IFR flight plan open with clearance on the ground. If no clearance delivery and it's IFR I'll use the cellphone, if it's VFR, I'll depart VFR and open the IFR clearance in the air.

Initial call, about 10 miles out, 5 minutes before I'm on top of the airport. I'll be listening from 20 miles out, just so I can get a picture on what's going on. If I'm on an instrument approach, I translate it to a distance and direction from the airport rather than XXXXX intersection inbound on the VOR xx approach, which means nothing to non-instrument pilots.
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Wed Nov 24, 2004 2:43 am

In the Skyhawk, I used to leave the landing light on for the entire flight, night or day. Then, one summer, I smelled smoke and discovered it was coming from the landing light switch. It was so hot I burned my finger when shutting it off. The switches on the R model have circuit breakers built into them to prevent this sort of thing from happening, but this one obviously failed.

As a result, I only use the landing light when in the vicinity of an airport, and use the much less powerful (and thus, lower draw) taxi light for increased visibility during flight.


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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Wed Nov 24, 2004 3:56 am

If I am not mistaken, the landing light in the day is not compulsary by FAA regulations, but it is encouraged to pilots to use it.
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Wed Nov 24, 2004 4:35 am

Yeah, it's a program known as "Operation Lights On"...a voluntary pilot safety program described in the AIM designed to enhance the "see-and-avoid" requirement. "Lights On" encourages pilots to turn their lights on within 10 miles of any airport, day or night.


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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Wed Nov 24, 2004 4:55 am

During the daytime I'll switch taxi/landing light on when carrying out a "prior to takeoff checklist" at the holding point of the runway. I'll keep it on until I have reported CTR outbound. When I'm approaching the airport I'll turn landing/taxi light on again approximately 1-2min before reporting CTR inbound.

It is a lot easier to identify the aircraft during daytime if they have landing lights on and if they are flying towards you. It is good way to reduce the risk for a mid-air collision in my opinion... I also use beacon, strobe and navigation lights during the daytime as well. In the night those are compulsary of course.

When approaching uncontrolled airports I'll make a call approximately 5-10 minutes before over the field and listen the frequency well advance as well to get the picture of the activity there.

I'm currently working with my Instrument rating so can't comment that part yet.

Best Regards,
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Wed Nov 24, 2004 5:23 am

ZKSUJ, if I'm not mistaken, landing lights aren't even madantory at night under the FAA (unless it's a commerical flight).

Interesting Big grin

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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:44 am

1. Low. As low as they will go.
2. On.
3. If good Wx, in the air. If marginal, on the ground.
4. 20 miles in a jet, 10 in a piston.
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Sat Nov 27, 2004 7:30 am

1. Low and never use the red overhead light
2. On as the cleared for takeoff and landing gowge usual shut them off once your about 15 mile or on a airway
3.Ussually always on the ground unless their are major delays long release holds
4. 10 miles or if your haulin ass mabey 15
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:14 pm

runway lights medium intensity, regardles if its VFR or IFR. only if the cieling is pretty low do i like them high. in the cokpit i like the lights set pretty low. just enough to see everything well. never used the overheads though. for chart lighting i've got a green and yellow surefire.

landing light off during the day. will turn it on when cleared for TO and cleared for landing. once i'm handed off or in the pattern it's off too.

all flight plans opened in the air. i'll close VFR ones in the air too once i'm within about 15 nm of the airport. IFR plans i close on the ground.

with uncontrolled fields it depends. there are a few pretty heavily used ones here near NYC. a few also have the same CTAF (kinda annoying.) usually, about 10 nm out.
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Topic Author
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:50 pm

Interesting views you all have. Thanks for the replies.
23 victor, turn right heading 210, maintain 3000 till established, cleared ILS runwy 24.
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RE: Pilots, Your Preferences

Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:09 am

1) High for finding the airport, then med for landing. If taking off, low or med does fine.

2) Scuzzy weather - on, Severe VFR - off

3) not applicable yet

4) Zero to some traffic, ten miles, fairly busy, 15 miles, busier than O'hare (been to KLOT on a busy day?), 20 miles.
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