View Full Version : use of airplane lights

30th Sep 2009, 21:50
Hi all,

Some time ago, I think on this forum, I read an interesting discussion on the use of airplane lights.

Somebody posted an (I believe) ICAO recommendation on how to use lights, ie turning on/off taxilight to indicate you give way,stopping, turning on all lights when entering an active runway with the exception of landing lights, those to be turned on when receiving take off clearance, etc, etc.

I don't want to start a discussion on the subject over again, however, I'm interested in getting the text of that particular ICAO recommendation. I tried a google search but no luck.

If somebody knows what I'm talking about I would appreciate if you could post it or direct me to where I could find it.

Thanks in advance.

30th Sep 2009, 22:48
google ac-120-74a

AC 120-74A Parts 91, 121, 125, and 135 Flightcrew Procedures during Taxi Operations (http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/331CA20530E3D4B086256DC000565D82?OpenDocument&Highlight=120-74)

2nd Oct 2009, 08:22
Hello rigpiggy,

Unfortunately not the text I was looking for. Thanks for the reaction though.


2nd Oct 2009, 11:55
The rules, concerning the use of lights, in the country you are operating, control... However, also common sense also prevails.

If you are flying for an airline then their FCOM will provide guidance concerning this matter.

If you are still in flight training, your school's flight training manual will provide guidance too.

However, generally, any time the airplane is taxiing... taxi light on. Aircraft stopped... taxi light off.

Cleared to enter an active runway to line up and wait... landing and strobe lights on when taking the active. Take note... if the runway is entered from opposite sides, delay turning on your lights until the line of illumination will not blind the crew of the aircraft on the opposite side.

Strobes lights? If LVPs are in effect... leave them off as they create a nuisance to your fellow crewmembers as well as crewmembers in other aircraft.

Runway vacated... turn off landing lights, and strobes as soon as possible as to prevent visual distractions to other aircraft operators.

Tee Emm
2nd Oct 2009, 13:37
The original purpose of landing lights was to illuminate the take off and landing zone at night. This could be a grass surface or runway. Normally this meant lights were switched on immediately before take off and switched off shortly after lift off at 50-100 feet. . On landing approach the lights were switched on at 200 feet. The landing light globes had a serviceability life based upon those figures. Using the landing lights in daylight is probably a reasonable collision avoidance protection.

But to switch on a taxi light just to taxi in broad daylight seems a bit superfluous. May as well have pilots wearing a high visibility fluro vests in the cockpit as another precaution. Perhaps a special hat on with a little propeller and flashing strobe would be good back up in case the landing light globe failed. Better still why not have all lights flashing while taxiing just to make sure that someone will see you if that is the problem.

2nd Oct 2009, 14:02
One reason of turning on taxi lights serves to inform ground vehicles that an aircraft is about commence taxi. I can think of one stand where a very busy service road route crosses the nose of the a/c, the only way to be given right of way safely is to turn on the taxi lamps.

As for ops reasons I'm only an engineer, but am interested in the answers as I taxi a/c at major airports.

2nd Oct 2009, 20:26

I really did not want to start a discussion, I was just interested in the particular text and wondered if somebody had a link to it.

Thanks for al the advice though, especially about the hat with propellors:8