MaxFacts: A Definitive Guide to the Use of Aircraft Lights (AIM: 4-3-23)

MaxSez: The procedure for the use of aircraft marker lighting has been a repetitive Topic on this Forum rife with disinformation, opinion and error. Following find an extract from the US FAA definitive guidance applicable in all US Controlled Airspace;

AIM: 4-3-23. Use of Aircraft Lights
a. Aircraft position lights are required to be lighted on aircraft operated on the surface and in flight from sunset to sunrise. In addition, aircraft equipped with an anti-collision light system are required to operate that light system during all types of operations (day and night). However, during any adverse meteorological conditions, the pilot-in-command may determine that the anti-collision lights should be turned off when their light output would constitute a hazard to safety (14 CFR Section 91.209). Supplementary strobe lights should be turned off on the ground when they adversely affect ground personnel or other pilots, and in flight when there are adverse reflection from clouds.

b. An aircraft anti-collision light system can use one or more rotating beacons and/or strobe lights, be colored either red or white, and have different (higher than minimum) intensities when compared to other aircraft. Many aircraft have both a rotating beacon and a strobe light system.

c. The FAA has a voluntary pilot safety program, Operation Lights On, to enhance the see-and-avoid concept. Pilots are encouraged to turn on their landing lights during takeoff; i.e., either after takeoff clearance has been received or when beginning takeoff roll. Pilots are further encouraged to turn on their landing lights when operating below 10,000 feet, day or night, especially when operating within 10 miles of any airport, or in conditions of reduced visibility and in areas where flocks of birds may be expected, i.e., coastal areas, lake areas, around refuse dumps, etc. Although turning on aircraft lights does enhance the see-and-avoid concept, pilots should not become complacent about keeping a sharp lookout for other aircraft. Not all aircraft are equipped with lights and some pilots may not have their lights turned on. Aircraft manufacturer’s recommendations for operation of landing lights and electrical systems should be observed.

d. Prop and jet blast forces generated by large aircraft have overturned or damaged several smaller aircraft taxiing behind them. To avoid similar results, and in the interest of preventing upsets and injuries to ground personnel from such forces, the FAA recommends that air carriers and commercial operators turn on their rotating beacons anytime their aircraft engines are in operation. General aviation pilots using rotating beacon equipped aircraft are also encouraged to participate in this program which is designed to alert others to the potential hazard. Since this is a voluntary program, exercise caution and do not rely solely on the rotating beacon as an indication that aircraft engines are in operation.
e. Prior to commencing taxi, it is recommended to turn on navigation, position, anti­collision, and logo lights (if equipped). To signal intent to other pilots, consider turning on the taxi light when the aircraft is moving or intending to move on the ground, and turning it off when stopped or yielding to other ground traffic. Strobe lights should not be illuminated during taxi if they will adversely affect the vision of other pilots or ground personnel.
f. At the discretion of the pilot­in­command, all exterior lights should be illuminated when taxiing on or across any runway. This increases the conspicuousness of the aircraft to controllers and other pilots approaching to land, taxiing, or crossing the runway. Pilots should comply with any equipment operating limitations and consider the effects of landing and strobe lights on other aircraft in their vicinity.

g. When entering the departure runway for takeoff or to “line up and wait,” all lights, except for landing lights, should be illuminated to make the aircraft conspicuous to ATC and other aircraft on approach. Landing lights should be turned on when takeoff clearance is received or when commencing takeoff roll at an airport without an control tower.

(Placart; Curtesy Mr. Shelton. Suggest Repro, copy to FltBag)


Someone’s been busy this morning! Great topic, very informative.


I wish everyone would follow this, would make it feel more realistic


@Aussie_Wombat. MaxSez: Your right Wombat nobody will read this or research! They’ll put a one liner on the Forum and the duty experts will expound. More trivia, notions and I thinks. Oh My!

Way to be optimistic, I read it and thanks for dropping it here for people to read ;)

PS- have same faith Max, there are still people in this world that are self motivated and have a willingness to learn. ✌🏼

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@ChrisLevet232… Got it Paster, faith, hope & charity! “There will be peace in our time”. N. Chamberlain 1939, FDR 1941, H. Truman 1950, JFK 1960, L. Johnson 1965,
R. Reagan 198?, GHW Bush 199?, G. Bush …D.Trump… Sleep well, Strong Men Armed have the overwatch. Regards

Love it! Can’t ever argue with the regulation. No “I thinks”, “I’ve seen”, “what I do”… black and white! 👍🏻


Try me. I argue that facts are subjective.


@Maxmustang Is there a condensed version of this anywhere that you know of?

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@MishaCamp… Checked FAA and commercial resources, no individual placard or PDF lighting check list located. Closest, by model check lists that include lighting sequence by evolution.

I agree with your supposition" All facts are subjective"! Particularly rulings issued by moderators.LOL

Jumbo Buana!


I could only find a single diagram:



@Tyler_Shelton. Like to add your Placard to the Topic pls. Also pls consider chging Category to Tutorial. Regards

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But the landing light did not light the runway when it turn on…just white light on wing.the light not spread.

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i have a question
i read somewhere that strobes should only be turned on when on the runway but in the graphic it says to turn on even when taxiing.

Which procedure do I follow?


We both have the same confusion…

Isn’t this also in an Infinite Flight tutorial? Hmm…

EDIT: Indeed it is. In the Spawn to Takeoff video by Mark, he only turns on his strobes when he enters the runway. Very interesting.


There one time i travel from Miri airport(MYY) to Labuan airport(LBU).the plane not taxing yet after the pushback the strobe light is turn on…i know it cause i sit right on the wing.i can see the flash of the strobe light.aircraft are ATR 72-500.

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Its in the post

Aka you leave them off as it’s blinding to others. If that’s the only form of anti collision lighting it has they stay on. Such as the Cirrus SR22.

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Also found here.

Read the FAR and it will explain all.

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Thank you for this it is very helpful

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