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Exploring Five Types of Outer Aircraft Lighting

Exploring Five Types of Outer Aircraft Lighting

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane…oh, it really is a plane!  But before flying through the sky, airplanes must adhere to certain safety requirements. This is particularly true of outer lights on an aircraft. These lights are strategically placed across different sections of the plane to provide pilots with visibility and guidance while navigating through the sky. Though there are a number of interior and exterior lights on a commercial aircraft, we are going to focus on five of the most vital lights that can be found on planes. So, let’s take flight as we explore a few lights.

Navigation Lights

Similarly to the way vehicles must adhere to traffic lights, aircraft's must obey navigation lights to move accurately through the sky. The outer red and green lights typically placed on the wingtips of the plane are often accompanied with a stream of steady white light thatallows pilots in separate aircraft's to determine the direction of other planes. For example, if there are two aircrafts traveling in the sky and a pilot sees white and red lights on a plane, this usually means he is viewing the left side of the aircraft. If the lights shown are green and white, this means the other plane is traveling on the right side. These navigation lights can also be called right-of-way lights.

 

Landing Lights

Used for increased visibility among the friendly skies, landing lights are possibly the most important types of light on an aircraft. You can think of these lights as extra bright high-powered head lights. Landing lights can be seen from miles away and are used to help guide pilots into their landing regardless of lighting or weather conditions. These lights may also be used during take-off. Though all planes are equipped with landing lights, they are not always located in the same area of the aircraft. They may be located on different sections of the wings, the nose, or the fuselage, which is the main body of the aircraft.

Taxi Lights

Depending on the type of aircraft, landing lights may also be accompanied by taxi lights.  Located on the nose of most aircraft, taxi lights provide additional illumination when an airplane is traveling through the sky, taking off and landing. Many planes do not have taxi lights; because of this, the terms and functions are often used interchangeably with landing lights. Light emitted from a taxi light is typically a bright white light.

 

Strobes

Ever looked in the sky at night and noticed bright white lights flashing on a plane? Strobe lights are a form of high-intensity lighting that can be found on the wingtips of planes.  These lights may be activated during daytime departure, but they are primarily used to identify the plane’s relative location through the night sky or when there is limited visibility for control towers and other aircraft.

Anti-Collision Beacon Lights

Anti-collision beacon lights are typically found in the middle of the fuselage, meaning in the middle of the outer main body of the aircraft. The orange-reddish lights work by rotating to create a flashing effect.  The beacon, or warning light, is activated during the duration of the aircraft's running time. They are only shut down once the engine is turned off. These lights communicate to aircraft ground engineers that the engine is working adequately.

We've now landed to your destination.  Feel free to unfasten your seatbelts.  Did you find out anything new about aircraft lighting? Leave us a comment in the section below, or pop over to chat with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram!

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