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SXDFC
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787 Beacon Light Issue?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:36 am

Hello All:

Tonight I saw the Royal Jordanian 787 ( JY-BAA ) flying into JFK and I noticed that the beacon light wasn't on. Upon looking at the plane for the second time both the beacon light and wing illumination light switched on. This wasn't the first time I've seen this on a 787, the first being a Norwegian 787. Could this be an issue on the 787, and has anyone else seen this before too?
 
BravoOne
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:11 pm

So exactly what is the issue?
 
SXDFC
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:49 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 1):
So exactly what is the issue?

The issue was why was the plane flying with its beacon light off? From what I understand that is one light you don't touch until you land on the ground.
 
PGNCS
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:26 pm

How is it that you think this is 787 specific? I just don't follow. Pilots make mistakes with light switches sometimes on all types, as aircraft normally have switches located very close together. I have, for the record, never flown the 787, but it's pretty much a universal truth that pilots make errors with lights and generally notice some time later and fix the error.
 
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asqx
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:06 am

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 2):
The issue was why was the plane flying with its beacon light off? From what I understand that is one light you don't touch until you land on the ground.

If the white strobe lights are on and flashing, the red anti collision beacon doesn't have to be turned on.
 
jetmatt777
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:48 am

My most memorable night with light switchology was seeing a completely dark plane come around the corner at night to be parked. It was a brand new SkyWest E175. Not sure what happened in the cockpit, but no exterior lights were on. Once we plugged in ground power all the lights came on. Was strange.
 
SXDFC
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:41 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 3):
How is it that you think this is 787 specific? I just don't follow.

Because this is the only A/C where I have seen this happen, I saw this happen once before on a Norwegian 787 as well.

Quoting asqx (Reply 4):
If the white strobe lights are on and flashing, the red anti collision beacon doesn't have to be turned on.

I always thought that the red light should be on at all times..

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 5):

Sometimes I guess you just gotta "plug it in" for it all to work..  
 
AIRWALK
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:11 am

Quoting asqx (Reply 4):
If the white strobe lights are on and flashing, the red anti collision beacon doesn't have to be turned on.

The beacon light is usually on from engine start to stop. The strobe lights not necessarily. They are usually switched off when flying through cloud, because the light could be reflected back into the cockpit causing a blinding effect.
I'm sure this thread will take off soon
 
PGNCS
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:34 pm

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 6):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 3):How is it that you think this is 787 specific? I just don't follow.
Because this is the only A/C where I have seen this happen, I saw this happen once before on a Norwegian 787 as well.

And as I said this happens on every aircraft built thus far.
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:11 pm

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 2):
From what I understand that is one light you don't touch until you land on the ground.

Really, not until you shut the engines off. Part of its function is to advise ramp traffic that it's safe to pass behind, hook up belt loaders, fuel hoses, gates, etc. As long as it's on, those things are all no-no's.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 3):
Pilots make mistakes with light switches sometimes on all types, as aircraft normally have switches located very close together. I have, for the record, never flown the 787, but it's pretty much a universal truth that pilots make errors with lights and generally notice some time later and fix the error.

Indeed. I've seen planes get all the way to the piano keys without landing lights on, take off w/out strobe, etc. These things do happen.

Quoting asqx (Reply 4):
If the white strobe lights are on and flashing, the red anti collision beacon doesn't have to be turned on.

Maybe not per legal requirement, no. But I'd be willing to wager a shiny new box of donuts that most airline's Company Policy says it comes on with start-up (we won't even motor an engine without it). As I mentioned above, a lot of this is for ground safety purposes as well.
Well, you know what they say. Whatever doesn't kill you...
... Must not be an MD-11.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:50 pm

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 2):
The issue was why was the plane flying with its beacon light off? From what I understand that is one light you don't touch until you land on the ground.

As I understand, you shut it off *after* you power down the engines at the gate. At any time where there is any possibility that the aircraft might move, the lights should be on.

Quoting DarkSnowyNight (Reply 9):

Really, not until you shut the engines off. Part of its function is to advise ramp traffic that it's safe to pass behind, hook up belt loaders, fuel hoses, gates, etc. As long as it's on, those things are all no-no's.

That was my understanding. Any time the engines are on *OR* the brakes are released (or about to be).
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:29 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
Any time the engines are on *OR* the brakes are released (or about to be).

Only if they are about to move it, but yes in that case. It's common practice (for a few good reasons) to release the brakes as soon as you're chocked.

edit for clarity

[Edited 2014-11-25 12:38:10]
Well, you know what they say. Whatever doesn't kill you...
... Must not be an MD-11.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:23 pm

As mentioned, it is legal to have the beacon off as long as the strobes are on, for example if the beacon is inop. One example in GA is the Cessna 162, which has no beacon and thus must have strobes on the whole time.

Note that this is a "general" rule and may be superseded by a type/operator specific rule in the MEL.


So perhaps the beacon on the plane mentioned by the OP was inop.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Francoflier
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:03 am

If the 787 is anything like the 777, and I suspect it is, the beacon switch position is sensed and linked to the electronic checklist.

Upon completing the 'Before Start' checklist the Beacon item would show in green if it has been selected in the correct position during the flow. If not, it'll be in white which will prompt the pilots to turn it on.
The ECL makes it hard to miss or forget, hence if it wasn't on, I suspect it must have been MEL'd.

Given the 787 sports a brand new and fancy set of LED lights all around, I suspect they are still to reach operational maturity and might go bad a bit more frequently.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:52 am

Quoting francoflier (Reply 13):
Given the 787 sports a brand new and fancy set of LED lights all around, I suspect they are still to reach operational maturity and might go bad a bit more frequently.

That's odd because LEDs are pretty mature technology and are quite reliable.

Quoting DarkSnowyNight (Reply 11):
Only if they are about to move it, but yes in that case. It's common practice (for a few good reasons) to release the brakes as soon as you're chocked.

Yeah, I meant brakes released without chocks on.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
a320fan
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:19 am

Some aircraft (Q400) have the White strobe lights and red beacon tied to the same switch. Up is red down is white middle is off. What I can't quite remember is if the White setting just adds the stones and keeps the beacon going or if it's one or the other.
A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A350-900, A380, 737-700, 737-800, 777-200ER, 777-300, 777-300ER, 787-8, Q300, Q400
 
freeze3192
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:00 am

Quoting a320fan (Reply 15):
Some aircraft (Q400) have the White strobe lights and red beacon tied to the same switch. Up is red down is white middle is off. What I can't quite remember is if the White setting just adds the stones and keeps the beacon going or if it's one or the other.

It's one or the other. All of the Dash 8 series aircraft are the same.
"A passenger bets his life that his pilot is a worthy heir to an ancient tradition of excellence and professionalism."
 
AA737-823
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RE: 787 Beacon Light Issue?

Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:34 am

Quoting asqx (Reply 4):
If the white strobe lights are on and flashing, the red anti collision beacon doesn't have to be turned on.

That's common on turboprops, but CERTAINLY NOT the industry practice on real airplanes.

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 6):
I always thought that the red light should be on at all times..

Indeed, the red light (at all the carriers I've worked with) is turned on BEFORE hydraulics are powered up, to warn ground staff that control surfaces etc might be about to move, and to step away.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
As I understand, you shut it off *after* you power down the engines at the gate. At any time where there is any possibility that the aircraft might move, the lights should be on.

After hydraulics are turned off, generally. Though sometimes it doesn't work, in practice; sometimes crews will either intentionally or inadvertently leave the hydraulic pumps on (electric obviously) at the gate.

As far as the initial question goes, who can say. Strobe lights aren't exactly new tech, so it's hard to imagine that the 787 has a complicated, failure-prone implementation of them. But then, it's a 787, so anything that could be unnecessarily complicated has been!

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