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DocLightning
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Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:21 pm

So I just flew a red-eye, NW 722, a 752, from SFO to DTW. I noticed that during cruise, the landing lights on the wings turned on for a second or so and then turned back off. I noticed this about 3 times during the flight, although I wasn't watching the whole time.

It wasn't an automated flash-on/flash-off. It was like someone in the cockpit turned them on for a second...and then turned them back off.

I've never seen the outside lights get turned on in flight other than ascent and descent. Any idea why this might have happened?
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wilco737
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:24 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
It wasn't an automated flash-on/flash-off. It was like someone in the cockpit turned them on for a second...and then turned them back off.



Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
've never seen the outside lights get turned on in flight other than ascent and descent. Any idea why this might have happened?

We do that from time to time to greet other airplane which are close to us. Switch them on for a couple of seconds and then swtich them off again. Just greeting the other crew in a dark night  Smile

wilco737
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:09 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):

We do that from time to time to greet other airplane which are close to us. Switch them on for a couple of seconds and then swtich them off again. Just greeting the other crew in a dark night Smile

Ahh. Well, that makes perfect sense! Thanks!
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wilco737
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:16 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
hh. Well, that makes perfect sense! Thanks!

Sometimes the answer is pretty easy Big grin
But we got an information from our technical department to not doing it because it is not good for the lights. It is very cold up there and when you switch them on they heat up in splitseconds and cool down again very suddenly again when switching them off and that reduces their lifetime...

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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:01 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):

We do that from time to time to greet other airplane which are close to us.

Sounds about right. I'd do that too when doing night cross countries. Kinda like truckers flashing lights at each other  cool 
 
wilco737
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:49 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 4):
Kinda like truckers flashing lights at each other   

Exactly. But some guys just ignore it, or they are sleeping or just not paying attention  Smile

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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:01 pm

What about checking to see if you are in cloud?
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wilco737
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:26 pm



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 6):
What about checking to see if you are in cloud?

Yes, an option to. But usually the strobes can tell you if you are in the clouds. I usually see the strobes all the way to the cockpit flashing, so that is usually hint enough. If not: switch on the landing lights. But on the MD11 I use the runway turnoff lights as they are more shining to the right and to the left and easier to see then if you are in the clouds.


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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:56 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
Ahh. Well, that makes perfect sense! Thanks!

It's also known as see and be seen....... It helps the crews better spot eachother
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:30 pm

We always use the runway turnoff lights, never the ldg lights.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:59 am



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 8):

It's also known as see and be seen....... It helps the crews better spot eachother

Isn't that what the blinky lights all over the plane are for?  duck 
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wilco737
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:22 am



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 9):
We always use the runway turnoff lights, never the ldg lights.

Yeah, the landing lights are so loud when they extend  crazy 

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
Isn't that what the blinky lights all over the plane are for?   

 laughing  Yes, but those landing lights are so bright that you can spot the other a lot easier...

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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:33 am



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 4):

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 1):

We do that from time to time to greet other airplane which are close to us.

Sounds about right. I'd do that too when doing night cross countries. Kinda like truckers flashing lights at each other

I've done it in GA planes. It's kind of halfway between a courtesy and a safety of flight issue...the lights definitely make sure that the other guy sees you.

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 9):
We always use the runway turnoff lights, never the ldg lights.

On older Boeings, didn't the landing lights actually retract and extend from one of the flap track "canoes?" As I recall, extending them while in cruise might cause a slight buffet...
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wilco737
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:44 am



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 12):
On older Boeings, didn't the landing lights actually retract and extend from one of the flap track "canoes?" As I recall, extending them while in cruise might cause a slight buffet...

On the MD11 they are left and right on the forward fuselage and when they extend it will be pretty loud in the cockpit.
On the old 737s I flew where they were located in the flaps cones, then you really felt something. That's why we had them retracted at higher speeds and only extented and on during approach.

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HAWK21M
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 13):
On the old 737s I flew where they were located in the flaps cones, then you really felt something. That's why we had them retracted at higher speeds and only extented and on during approach

Amazing mechanism to maintain Straight Illumination Irrespective of TE Flap position.But susceptable to cracks & FOD.

The square threaded screwjack was quite effective,but if it jams or motor siezes.Lights Cannot be driven back flush manually....So off to the CDL with a load penalty for despatch.

regds
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DocLightning
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:49 pm

Actually, let me quickly see if I know my lights. I was on a 752. The lights that were going on and off were on the leading edge of the wing, inboard of the engine. Those are landing lights, right?

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 13):
On the old 737s I flew where they were located in the flaps cones, then you really felt something.

I've noticed those on Classics. It seems like it takes a good 2 minutes for them to extend all the way.
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:28 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 15):
s that were going on and off were on the leading edge of the wing, inboard of the engine. Those are landing lights, right?

Yep.
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:35 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 15):
I've noticed those on Classics. It seems like it takes a good 2 minutes for them to extend all the way.

2 mins is too long.30secs seems more accurate.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 15):

Actually, let me quickly see if I know my lights. I was on a 752. The lights that were going on and off were on the leading edge of the wing, inboard of the engine. Those are landing lights, right?

True.

regds
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113312
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:22 pm

In many planes, it's actually the Runway Turnoff lights and not the actual Landing Lights. Reason: On many aircraft types the "Landing Lights" are fared and have motors to extend them into position when turned on. The Runway Turnoff lights are usually installed in the wing leading edge near the body of the plane and point outward to an angle forward. These are fixed behind a clear window and can be seen at a great distance on a clear night.
 
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:38 pm



Quoting 113312 (Reply 18):
The Runway Turnoff lights are usually installed in the wing leading edge near the body of the plane and point outward to an angle forward. These are fixed behind a clear window and can be seen at a great distance on a clear night.



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 15):
I was on a 752

Not on a B757.The Runway turnoff Lights are on The NLG.
regds
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kimberlyRJ
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:24 pm

Hello all

I have noticed that on some flights normally where we are near the start of the NAT at night time heading eastbound our pilots sometimes leave landing lights on for hours at a time, is this a case of there are a lot of aircraft out there and they wanted us to be seen?

Also, is it F/D procedure to turn on external lights, landing, logo etc if in a TCAS situation? Surely you would want every possible light on, every little helps?

I only get to play around with the cabin lighting  Sad

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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:47 pm



Quoting Kimberlyrj (Reply 20):
I have noticed that on some flights normally where we are near the start of the NAT at night time heading eastbound our pilots sometimes leave landing lights on for hours at a time, is this a case of there are a lot of aircraft out there and they wanted us to be seen?

Never heard of that. The tracks are one way. We are the guys normally going against the tracks which puts us on a random route away from or under the NAT.

Quoting Kimberlyrj (Reply 20):
is it F/D procedure to turn on external lights, landing, logo etc if in a TCAS situation? Surely you would want every possible light on, every little helps?

A Resolution Advisory is an immediate action procedure and you won't take time to turn on any lights. Following the TCAS guidance is the only priority.
 
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:33 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 13):
On the old 737s I flew where they were located in the flaps cones, then you really felt something. That's why we had them retracted at higher speeds and only extented and on during approach.

On the classic 737 (at least all the ones I've seen) there are 2 sets of landing lights. One retractable on the flap canoe's (as indicated) but also a set of fixed inboard landing lights co-located with the runway turn-off lights at the wing root.
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:53 pm

Very cool thread, I love how something as amazing as an aircraft can come down to the same level as your car, flashing the lights, or waving over the steering wheel!  Smile
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A342
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:35 pm

Maybe not closely on topic, but are there circumstances where it is acceptable to turn off the strobes at night?
Let's say you're flying SCL-AKL and within a 1000nm radius, there's no other aircraft around you and you want to enjoy the sight of the stars without being bothered by the strobes...
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:35 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 24):
Maybe not closely on topic, but are there circumstances where it is acceptable to turn off the strobes at night?

The wingstrobes, no, unless you're going through a cloud where you need to pay attention and actually be able to see. But I have seen the bottom anti-collision light off while the top one was still on during an entire flight.
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:39 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 24):
Maybe not closely on topic, but are there circumstances where it is acceptable to turn off the strobes at night?

Yes. When you are IMC and the strobes are bothering the pilots, they are often turned off, or if the aircraft has the option, like the Q400, one can turn the red "strobes" on. These are the same strobes that are used on the ground at night to prevent blinding other pilots while taxiing.

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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:20 pm



Quoting TheGreatChecko (Reply 26):
These are the same strobes that are used on the ground at night to prevent blinding other pilots while taxiing.

Isn't that just the beacon though?
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johnclipper
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:15 am

When I flew SQ EWR-SIN nonstop back in 2007, the pilot turned on all outside lights over Iraq and Afghanistan...see and be seen?
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thegreatchecko
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:39 pm



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 27):
Isn't that just the beacon though?

I've always wondered the same thing. However, it's certified with the switch saying its a red "strobe" and it does flash. So, really, I have no clue.

Checko
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:34 pm



Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 22):
On the classic 737 (at least all the ones I've seen) there are 2 sets of landing lights. One retractable on the flap canoe's (as indicated) but also a set of fixed inboard landing lights co-located with the runway turn-off lights at the wing root.

Could one of these be the taxi light and not quite as bright as the regular landing light?

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AirframeAS
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:07 pm



Quoting DAL7e7 (Reply 30):
Could one of these be the taxi light and not quite as bright as the regular landing light?

No, the taxi light is on the NLG on the 737's.
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kimberlyRJ
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:39 pm



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 21):
A Resolution Advisory is an immediate action procedure and you won't take time to turn on any lights. Following the TCAS guidance is the only priority.

After speaking with a pilot from work they confirmed that they would activate the external lights, I put to him that does so could slow their response the resolution advisory – he said it would take seconds and if at night it would be a great help to get visual confirmation. He did stress the priority was TCAS...

My question about the NAT and external lights, was, do pilots leave the lights on so other aircraft can see then slightly easier? I did ask my pilot friend but he flies short haul.

KimberlyRJ
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:51 pm



Quoting Kimberlyrj (Reply 32):
they confirmed that they would activate the external lights, I put to him that does so could slow their response the resolution advisory – he said it would take seconds and if at night it would be a great help to get visual confirmation. He did stress the priority was TCAS...

If that's their SOP fine however here's an excerpt from another SOP " immediate compliance with RA vertical guidance manuvers is MANDATORY and takes precedence over ATC assigned altitudes, ops manual and flight manual procedures(FAR 91.123a)."

Target 40 sec to collision area becomes a TA
TA may become RA when 25 sec from collision area

I can see turning the lights on once you get the TA but once it becomes an RA forget it.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:52 am



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 13):

On the MD11 they are left and right on the forward fuselage a

Can you show me a picture?
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:32 am

I believe right here, below the front door


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DashTrash
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:31 am



Quoting TheGreatChecko (Reply 29):
I've always wondered the same thing. However, it's certified with the switch saying its a red "strobe" and it does flash. So, really, I have no clue.

The earlier Dashes have a single anti-collision light switch which selects between red or white. Red is the flashing beacon on the top of the tail, white are the wing and tail strobes. Can't use them both at the same time. The 400 has a different set up for a/c lights, but I think is similar in either beacon or wing strobes.

I've also used landing lights (or some other forward facing light) to see if I was flying through precip. Lots of reasons to turn them on in cruise, most are to alleviate boredom.
 
TimePilot
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:36 am

I would've guessed that maybe the pilot was high-beaming a slower plane in front of him  duck 

I have a related question: at what altitude are landing lights turned off?
 
FX772LRF
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:38 am



Quoting TimePilot (Reply 37):
I have a related question: at what altitude are landing lights turned off?

FL100 after departure. Turned back on when descending through FL100 also. I'm also pretty sure this is when F/A's are released from their jumpseats.

-Noah  wave 
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FlyingColours
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RE: Landing Lights On And Off In Cruise

Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:33 am



Quoting FX772LRF (Reply 38):

FL100 after departure. Turned back on when descending through FL100 also. I'm also pretty sure this is when F/A's are released from their jumpseats.

That depends on the airline and/or the country of registration. On Icelandic aircraft we were released at FL100 and back in our seats by then, on UK registered aircraft we were up when the pilots thought it was safe enough (been jumpseating when the crew were released at around 3,000, clear skies so no visible risk to the crew. Then again with KM I've seen the crew get to work the second the gear is up... Happy Days.

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 22):
On the classic 737 (at least all the ones I've seen) there are 2 sets of landing lights. One retractable on the flap canoe's (as indicated) but also a set of fixed inboard landing lights co-located with the runway turn-off lights at the wing root.

I agree, when I worked on the 737-400 I distinctly remember two pairs of landing light switches in the F/D and from my time jumpseating I remember "fixed" getting switched on around FL100 and "Retractable" switched on during the approach. Not too sure on the details though as its been almost 4 years now.

I do remember watching from my house (adjacent to the end of the runway at BRS) and always spotting "my" plane (TF-ELV) as it was the only 737-400 that came in and the lights gave it away as there would be one pair of landing lights (inboard of the engines) and then a few moments later another pair would appear on the wings. Again, happy days.

The first time I ever found out about landing lights being switched to say "hello" was when I was reading the accident report into TWA800, it turns out that seconds before the explosion they flashed their landing lights to acknowledge another aircraft. That one caused a few rumours IIRC. (No I don't want to dig up any theories, just mentioning it).

Phil
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