LIGHTS on Airplanes explained by “CAPTAIN”Joe

LIGHTS on Airplanes explained by “CAPTAIN”Joe

Dear friends and followers today, I’ll be answering another great question which has been coming in every so often. “Joe could you explain what lights are fitted on an Airbus A320 and their meaning?” That’s a great question, so let’s get started! Okay, first to know there are eight different types of lights fitted on an Airbus and we’ll be working from the front to the back of the plane. In mid height of the nosewheel shrub is the taxi and takeoff light. The taxi light is obviously to be used during taxi, powered by 115 volts and 400 Watts, it points forward and lights of the taxi line which is a great help if there aren’t any taxi line lights fitted on the ground. Many airlines have the procedure to turn on the taxi light once the aircraft is clear of the ground crew and has received their taxi clearance. The take-off] light is even brighter at 600 Watts. Its primary use is for takeoff only and its beam has a wider angle than the taxi light. The next time you spot an Airbus on the runway just about to take off. You’ll see the take-off light comes on as soon as the pilots have received their takeoff clearance and it automatically turns off, so does the taxi light as soon as the nose wheel is retracted but the switches need to be put into the ‘OFF’ position by the pilots. The two lights below are called the Runway Turnoff Lights Because the Taxi Light is pointing in a straight line, and you want to exit the runway you wouldn’t see where you were going, so therefore you have the Runway Turnoff Lights lighting up the runway exits and close turns on taxiways at a wider angle. The next set of lights are the wing and engine scan lights there is one on each side of the fuselage and its beam is placed to light of the leading edge of the wing and the engine inlets their main purpose is that pilots can check if any ice has build-up whilst flying through clouds at low temperatures or if there is any damage to the wing. Second is to make a plane more visible at night. On a Airbus A319 and A320 you can see part of the wing by looking out the cockpit window but on an A321 you would have to ask a flight attendant to check for ice on the wings by looking out a passenger window close to the wing This little buddy here the bottom of the fuselage and it’s colleague on top of the fuselage is the so called Anti-Collision Beacon. The beacon light is a bright flashing red light and many Airlines have different ways of handling the usage of the beacon light but its main purpose is to draw the attention to anyone within the area of the plane that this plane is moving, either being pushed back or operating under its own power. The beacon light is in the before start checklist because it should be turned on just prior to engine start notifying the ground crew that the pilots receive the pushback clearance and is about to start the engines any second now. It remains switched on until the aircraft turns off the engines and It is safe to approach the aircraft for ground handling. The next two lights are the landing lights on the Airbus A320 family they are mounted at the bottom of the wing, close to the fuselage. They are extended and retracted by an electric motor and each give a powerful 600 watt beam onto the runway. They are slightly tilted downwards due to the upward pitch moment of the aircraft shortly before touchdown. On the Airbus putting the landing lights into the extended position is a good reminder that you have received your line-up clearance and then turning them on as soon as you received the takeoff clearance. The landing lights are kept on until reaching 10,000 feet and then are switched off and retracted. Coming in for approach you turn the lights back on at 10,000 feet to make yourself more visible to others and keep them on until leaving the runway. Now moving outward of the wing, we have the navigation lights or also known as the position lights on each side of the wingtip. From a pilot’s perspective, the light on the right is steady green and one to the left or portside is steady red. Both have a hundred and ten degree opening angle and a third white light is placed at the far most end of the plane with an opening angle of 140 degrees so the three lights, beam at an angle of 360 degrees so that other pilots can determine the direction in which the airplane is flying. Same as a navigation lights on boats for example. Then we have the High Intensity Strobe Lights. Three white flashing lights, one on each wingtip and one at the end of the fuselage and they give a double flash every second. They are very bright and intended to attract the attention during flight They are turned on once lining up on the runway, making the plane more visible for other planes which are about to land on the same runway and are turn off once leaving the runway after landing because they are very distracting and blinding if you taxi behind the colleague who might have forgotten to switch them off. And by the way when you look into the sky full of stars and you spot flashing lights those are the strobe lights of an airplane and not a satellite. Last but not least we have the logo lights, fitted in the horizontal stabilizer, the lights shine towards the company logo painted on the vertical tail fin while useful for advertising, the primary purpose of these lights is safety especially when you’re on approach and a plane is waiting at the holding point at a 90 degree angle to the runway you can spot that plane easier. Now some of the exterior lights may be inoperative the plane is very quickly restricted to daylight operations only. Therefore you would have to consult the MEL, Minimum Equipment List, and check which lights need to be working. For example if the beacon lights and the strobe lights were inoperative or the NAV Lights. The plane would be only approved to be flying during daylight hours. But there are redundancies for example you have two navigation light systems if one of them fails you switch to the second set as easy as that. So that’s to give you an overview of the lights fitted on the Airbus A320. As I said before Airlines have different procedures on how and when to use the exterior lights Every light has its purpose, but have a secondary purpose and that is to make the plane more visible to others. I hope you enjoyed this short little video about lights on an airbus A320 so make sure to hit the subscribe button and to get notified as soon as the next video goes online and spread the word! All the best farewell, Your Captain Joe The next time you sit on an Airbus Maybe on a window seat close to the engine see if you can spot the landing light beam when the pilots turn it on after receiving their takeoff clearance, and then enjoy the takeoff

100 thoughts on “LIGHTS on Airplanes explained by “CAPTAIN”Joe

  1. At night I saw a Air France 777 freighter going by at FL350 and it had 3 dim white lights at the back of plane none of which flashed. Did someone forget to turn them off?

  2. Question for experts: Which is better: Strobe Lights based on Xenon discharge or LED!! Which of them is used in the current airplanes?

  3. At first I thought these lights are there to make the plane look beautiful at night. I have now understood the purpose of lights on airplanes.

  4. Joe,
    How many sensors are used in aircraft? When This sensors will damage it's effects for aircraft journey???
    Can u please explain

  5. Hola, Feliz año nuevo. ¿Con quien hay que hablar para conseguir que active usted la posibilidad de visualizar los subtítulos en español (de España)? Da la impresión de realizar usted un muy buen trabajo de formación y me gustaría poder aprovecharlo. Un saludo y muchas gracias por adelantado.

  6. how an aircraft moving from taxing area to runway. whether it has a driving unit(motor) on wheels or any other support to move the aircraft on the runway and to take-off.

  7. Hey Captain Joe. Another awesome video as always. Question for you, when you go to school to become a pilot, I know they teach you how all the systems work on the aircraft. But how in depth do you they train pilots in the sub systems. I Was curious.

  8. Respected Capt. Joe.

    Please tell us about the code name written on aircrafts. As we have seen in maximum videos that US Airways has N written at the last of the Aircraft.. Indian aircrafts has VT on it..

    Means we would like to know how does these codes get by any airlines…


  9. Great vid Captain Joe!! I always wondered why I would see planes in the distance shut off their bright lights as they got close…now I know they are shutting off their landing lights as they reach 10,000ft…thanks buddy!!

  10. Hello Captain Joe. I have heard that Commercial Airliners have a Beacon Light on them to let other Aircraft know that it is a Commercial Aircraft [ Friendly ] and NOT a Military Aircraft True or False?

  11. So I'm still not sure if I got when Strobe lights should be on. Should they be on always since getting into runway for taking of until landing and leaving runway?

  12. Question is coming in landing 10k feet solid landing lights to flashing back to solid before landing, why will a pilot have these solid to flashing for short time and back to solid?

  13. The early aircraft lights were incandescent filament bulbs filled with an inert gas or vacuum to stop oxygen to it. They are now LED Light EMITTING DIODES. Have done video on Runway lighting?

  14. awsome……I git a doubt….When The Landing Pulse Light are used in an aircraft…..??????…. Waiting for your response….!!!

  15. Captain joe is it require while the Aircraft taxing on taxiway to switch on the taxi lights?

  16. Once, i saw a business jet approaching with headlights blinking in interval right and left, which as quite unusual. I read, that could be a new feature.

  17. 5:40 Not necessarily! The ISS can be seen on a clear night and has 1 steady white beacon that flashes about every 5 seconds, Keep your eyes peeled folks! But yeah generally its a Airplane if its flashing more frequently!

  18. Catching up on some of the older videos and they are really good. Maybe you can get @MenTourPilot to do an episode with the same topic but on the B737 (he may already has one)?

  19. Hello Captain Joe your really amazing, I very much enjoy watching your all videos, so hats off to your Sir, and well done for your career
    As air pilot🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟😃

  20. Cars have rear window defroster to clear the window why cant aircraft use something similar to prevent icing ?

  21. Remember pushing back a few ERJ-145s where the beacon light was inop and the pilots would turn on the strobes just before push back

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