View Full Version : When to use landing lights
01-04-2011, 07:49 AM
When would I have my landing lights on normally? I fly mainly medium jets and large turboprops.
01-04-2011, 07:51 AM
I dont have a definitive answer for you, but ive always turned them on when ive intercepted the glideslope.
01-04-2011, 08:03 AM
01-04-2011, 08:28 AM
Always on below 10,000 ft and/or within 10 Nm of an airport.
Before T/O and after landing ONLY on the rwy (while taxiing the taxi lights should be used in stead, to avoid blinding other traffic).
01-04-2011, 10:02 AM
Some folks in the real world use the landing lights minimally to save having to replace the expensive bulbs. Some folks in the real world use the landing lights frequently to maximize the ability of other aircraft to see their aircraft - figuring any mid-air collision is bound to be more expensive than replacing light bulbs. Even in bright daylight, landing lights make it much easier to see a plane on final before turning my aircraft onto the runway.
Most airlines require the landing lights turned on when below 10,000 ft and when on the runway - day or night. Most real world aircraft turn off all strobes and landing lights when not actually on the runway or flying.
FSX has a problem with taxi lights not working on many aircraft, so we have to use the landing lights on the ground during taxi - which as noted above would be a major discourtesy in the real world.
01-04-2011, 11:06 AM
From a general aviation perspective, I always always always kept the landing lights turned on in my rental airplane when I was in training. A.) It's not my bulb to replace, and B.) I don't care much for midair collisions. (*Past tense because I did a few solos, then had to give it up due to $$ and time)
From an airline perspective, I believe it is usually an airline procedure for turning them on at certain altitudes. As Reggie mentions, most seem to use 10,000' as the turn-on point - on a clear day, the airplane will be visible for a long, LONG distance with those lights on.
I too have heard the 10,000' mark as being the de-facto standard for airlines to flip the switch, but this thread made me look up a close-to-home example to see what's going on. I live exceptionally close to the PVD VORTAC, one of the waypoints on several of the KBOS/Boston approaches. Nearly every evening, coming in high and from the southwest, is a veritable conga line of Boston-bound airplanes. Interestingly, EACH of these airplanes have their landing lights on miles before they arrive at the PVD VORTAC, as the lights are clearly visible for miles and miles. Also interesting is that according to the approach plates, airplanes are usually told to cross PVD at about 11,000'. Since these landing lights are visible well before the planes hit PVD, I can only imagine they are being turned on higher than 10k. I'm not disputing the 10,000' mark as being the classic example, but I was a bit surprised when I used my backyard observations.
I guess there are some variables at work here!
01-04-2011, 11:25 AM
As you mentioned - the "be seen" aspect is a big factor in using landing lights. Entry into congested airspace would be one place I would really want to turn them on early (though I personally have never flown a real aircraft that high). The conditions you describe would fit that definition in my mind. Better safe than sorry, or dead.
01-08-2011, 04:53 AM
As you are aware most of the default AC landing lights will not come on until the LG is down??
01-08-2011, 07:02 AM
The landing lights in airline FAR Part 121 operations are usually turned off when passing through 10,000ft MSL. For aircraft operating under Part 91 it is not specified, but at the pilots discretion:
So even the regs offer the `usually` exclusion. There are also the practical aspects such as mounted on landing gear, mounted on swing-out assemblies that have speed and altitude restrictions, and whether there is actually anyone around who would benefit - not much point on a dark, murky day when the only other aircraft in the vicinity is an airliner 20,000 ft above and at 4 o'clock heading away. Putting the LL on in that situation is likely to only reduce the pilots ability to see, same as operating them in cloud. Airliners usually have the cockpits a long way from the landing lights, and have less need for visual observation in such circumstances, so it's less of a problem for them.
My old flight instructor summarised it simply:
"Landing lights should be used whenever it would benefit you and those around you -with the single exception of on-ground, but off-runway."
That seems a good enough yardstick!
01-08-2011, 07:13 AM
In a nutshell:
The landing lights should be turned on when on the runway and flying under 10,000 feet. There are exceptions but this rule applies most of the time.
01-08-2011, 11:34 AM
Yup, I follow arcuil's rule also - just like the airlines, under 10,000 feet, and then turn off above. That's the best way to practice it. Even in GA (General Aviation) I do that also....
John Thuot II
01-27-2011, 06:16 AM
In my career, I've observed this. Landing lights used from the runway to 10,000ft and the same backwards. Taxi light is used while taxiing and also for takeoff and landing. We kinda use it as a what it is meant for, to see and to be seen. But we also use it as a reminder that we were cleared to land. When going through 10,000, the Left and Right landing lights are switched on. Then the nose landing light gets turned on when cleared for approach. Then the taxi light is turned on when cleared to land. I know some aircraft don't have the capabilities to do this technique, but if you can it avoids having to make the embarrassing reconfirmation calls with tower and approach controllers.
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