If you’ve ever flown on a plane or even looked up at one in the night sky, then you’ve probably noticed that the plane is equipped with a number of bright lights. If you’re the more detail-oriented type, you might have even noticed that planes flash different sets of lights during landing and takeoff. So what is the purpose of these aircraft lights and what do they mean? Read on below to see why these external aircraft lights were put in place and how they help with flight operations.
Landing lights are usually placed under the fuselage or positioned on the aircraft wings. They’re designed and positioned so that the pilot can see the runway when landing or taking off. They also serve to let pilots on other airplanes know that they’re there. At around 200 feet above the runway, the pilot will turn on landing lights so that the plane can be illuminated for others to see. The same goes for when taking off and when they reach cruising altitude, the pilots shut them off.
In the same way that a driver uses the car headlights, a pilot will use the airplane's external taxi headlights to light up the path in front at night. Pilots will specifically use taxi lights to illuminate the taxiway and find the runway or gate during dark and cloudy climates. Taxi lights may not seem very bright if you’re looking at a distance but if you are part of the ground personnel team and see that taxi lights are approaching, then that’s the signal for you to look away as these lights up close can cause retinal damage if you look directly into it.
The name is self explanatory- these lights are designed for avoiding collisions by for letting ground personnel and other pilots know that you are flying nearby. There are three different types of anti-collision lights including:
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