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Old 14th May 2013, 07:25   #1 (permalink)
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Landing lights at high altitude airports

Hello ladies and gents.

I guess I should know this answer.....

When landing at NBO for example, elevation 5330, do the landing lights (which are supposed to be turned on at 10,000ft) go on at 15,330 ft?


OneTwoTree is offline  
Old 14th May 2013, 07:28   #2 (permalink)
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Here's an idea.........turn em on anyway....
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Old 14th May 2013, 07:35   #3 (permalink)
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Airbus says 10000FT, not 10000 AAL or AGL...

but my company's OM-A says 10000AGL, so thats what I do!
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Old 14th May 2013, 07:38   #4 (permalink)
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stilton is offline  
Old 14th May 2013, 08:52   #5 (permalink)
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Whereas my company says consider leaving them off until on final inbound track and turn them off with flaps up. Saves a thimble of fuel each flight.
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:01   #6 (permalink)
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Turn them on whenever traffic or visibility warrants their use. simple no?
If you as Captain want to put them on, do so.
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:26   #7 (permalink)
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And so it is that common sense no longer prevails upon our society or our industry. Has anyone simply asked themselves, "why have them on during flight?"

In decades gone-by - in places where most of the worlds airplanes where built - VFR flight didn't exist above 10,000 feet. The idea was that the landing lights should be on so that the VFR traffic could see those fast moving airplanes, thus preventing things like B727's and C172's colliding as was the case with PSA flight 182.

Does this shed any 'light' on the debate?

Last edited by PappyJ; 14th May 2013 at 13:20.
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:27   #8 (permalink)
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Answers as above are indicative of the direction the industry is moving in right now. SOP's are being introduced to replace common sense. I enjoy being a pilot, not a robot.
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:38   #9 (permalink)
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Surely one of the main reasons for switching on the landing lights at 10,000ft is for bird avoidance. Most bird strikes occur below 10,000 AMSL.

Interesting article:

Strategies for Prevention of Bird-Strike Events
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:50   #10 (permalink)
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Pre 1971 in the Australian area there was no obvious history of landing light use at height. The first time I saw it used was in DC3s in Papua New Guinea during famine relief flights in 1971/1972. VMC (well, almost) at 12000ft it was usefull to see opposite direction lights. With very high terrain, weather and poor performance, there was not much chance for level choices to give vertical separation. After that landing light use spread to Australia. Maybe we spread it to the rest of world?
It was a good idea then and still is.
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Old 14th May 2013, 09:51   #11 (permalink)
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Post #6 +1. No other sensible answer.
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Old 14th May 2013, 11:16   #12 (permalink)
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I'll get my coat and come with you. I assume we're going to the pub!
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Old 15th May 2013, 04:15   #13 (permalink)
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One two tree, are you perchance Irish?

EVERYONE should know that if the field elevation is 5300 feet you absolutely must , repeat must, switch on the landing lights at exactly 15300 feet, corrected of course for cold temperature, low QNH and moon's gravitational pull. The consequences of switching them on at some other altitude are dire in the extreme. If you do it at 15400 feet the lights will burn out prematurely - maybe as soon as after 100,000 hours of such abuse - and if everyone was this lax the company would soon be bankrupt because of the landing light replacement costs. And if you switch them on at 15200 feet you run the risk of bird strike, because we all know that there are birds out there which routinely fly at 9950 feet above the nearest airfield elevation.

Not to mention the public flogging (that you so richly deserve for being such a recalcitrant) being administered by an irate check Captain for failing to fly to essential tolerances. In fact deviating from the required action at 15300 feet could seriously impair your command progression.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 15th May 2013 at 04:18.
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Old 15th May 2013, 04:23   #14 (permalink)
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When you slow to 250 KIAS


Fly safe,

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Old 15th May 2013, 05:20   #15 (permalink)
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Question J.L. Seagull . . .

Airbus says 10000FT, not 10000 AAL or AGL...
So, at high altitude places like Quito (UIO) they wouldn't come on until short final; and at La Paz (LPB) they wouldn't come on at all!

Makes perfect sense.
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Old 15th May 2013, 07:37   #16 (permalink)
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And what about the bar-headed goose that migrates at up to 30,000 feet, and weighs a little over 7 pounds. Better leave them on all the time, just in case you understand, can't be toooo careful.
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Old 15th May 2013, 08:16   #17 (permalink)
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Such pearls of wisdom!

Invaluable info guys... what would all the new guys do without you?!

In fact, in the interests of safety, what say we all taxi.. no.. simply get towed from origin to destination. Much much safer than terrorist geese...
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Old 15th May 2013, 10:48   #18 (permalink)
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In interest of safety, just stay at the pub, and don't sit on a tall stool.
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Old 15th May 2013, 17:46   #19 (permalink)
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Like most questions on here there is no definite answer but a lot of things to think about. My last flying job was A320 s out of Denver which is 5280 Msl. As I remember we put the lights on at 10000 msl because of the lights need to extend and although it was not a restriction having them out above 250 kias was not recommended.
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Old 15th May 2013, 23:05   #20 (permalink)
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Mach E Avelli - that's got to be one of the funniest posts on PPRuNe for a while - I nearly choked on my G & T!

One small point you missed - the non selection of landing lights at the designated altitude corrected for temperature and moons gravitational pull will now be part of the OFDM monitoring - big brother is watching!
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