Strobe & landing lights

Which lights do I turn on when I cross a runway?

Strobe lights should be turned on however I’m not 100% sure about landing lights but I turn them on anyway. That means whenever you are on the runway, even crossing it all your lights will be on.

IRL pilot will have more accurate information though :) 👇🏼

Landings lights should be on as well. Just turn it off when you exit the runway :)

Beacon should be on when the engines are running. Nav lights if it’s dark or if you want them.

Strobes should be on when entering or crossing an ‘active’ runway (one being used for departures or arrivals or that has not been designated inactive or a taxy way).

Strobes off again when you exit the runway.

(don’t turn on landing lights if you’re crossing the runway only as you’ll end up blinding someone on the other side IRL!!! Landing lights only when lined up on the departure runway! Believe me, it’s really annoying!)


Never! Only ever use landing lights for take-off or landing and they should be switched off on the ground on exit from the runway. They are high intensity lights and are blinding. Especially at night where a flash from landing lights can trash your night vision for ages!


So if i’m correct, when I cross a runway I only turn on the strobe lights?

Really? Some taught me to turn on the landing lights when crossing the runway… sorry

(you edited your post so now you are indeed correct. The original post had landing lights where strobes are now ;) )


Leave the landing lights off unless you are lined up on the departure runway for a take-off or lined up for landing.

Crossing use only the strobes, on as you enter the runway, off as you exit.


No need for apologies at all.

How do we learn if we don’t question what we think we know! :D

Some places have different ideas but after years of operating globally the ‘vast majority’ of professional pilots will only switch the landing lights on for departure when lined up.

It’s predominantly a courtesy thing for your fellow pilots. Smaller airfield might indeed have different rules but I haven’t operated to them so wouldn’t know.



I have another question, when i’m crossing the hold short line for takeoff, in which order do I turn on my strobe and landing lights?

you have to turn on the strobe lights and landing lights when you are entering the track, if I am wrong, someone can correct me :)

Strobes as soon as you cross the hold short line when you’ve received lineup clearance.

At this point it differs slightly. Some crews see this as the tacit approval to switch on their landing lights as they line up. Can be irritating if you’re holding on the opposite side of the runway to them!!! (DXB for example).

Others, like myself, will only switch the landing lights on when lined up on the departure runway with departure clearance. So, lined up, clearance given, landing lights on and throttle up. That’s a personal preference though and many colleagues of mine will switch them on before departure clearance is given for conspicuity.


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It’s because I saw a tutorial and it says that when you cross the hold short line, you turn on the landing lights. Then, when you’re lined up on the runway you turn on the strobe lights and take off. However, if you do an immediate takeoff, you turn on both the landing & strobe lights when crossing the hold short line. Should I do this?

If you are in any sort of commercial airliner then no, it’s the wrong way around. Smaller aircraft have different rules as some only have a beacon and no strobes so you would signal your intention for take off by using your landing lights.

In commercial operations at large airports you cannot enter an active runway without your strobes being on. Hence, always, strobes first when entering a runway as it communicates to all around you that you have entered an active runway.

Landing lights on big jets are extremely powerful. Some pilots don’t really care and will bang them on with the strobes as they cross the hold line in accordance with the before take-off checklist. Many, who think about the others operating at major airports, delay the landing lights until lined up on the departure runway. Which, obviously, shouldn’t have traffic on it to blind.

There is nothing more irritating then getting ready for a night departure and having the jet lining up from the other side of the runway blind you with a sweep of high intensity landing lights!!! Don’t even get me started on wing lights!!!

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When crossing a runway you should switch on all lights, when the runway is vacated you can switch strobe + landing lights back off.

When crossing a runway you should switch on all lights, when the runway is vacated you can switch strobe + landing lights back off.

No, you shouldn’t.

Reasons detailed above :D


I got a slightly different question, my apologies for being little off-topic, but in Infinite Flight we don’t have Taxi Lights, but are those turned on IRL when crossing a Runway, since I suppose those are turned on just before the taxiing beings, so they stay on when crossing a runway too?

Taxi light would already be on anyway if you’re crossing a runway, so yes.

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When we fly IRL when crossing a runway all lights go on, taxi lights are on also for departure and landing. We switch off the taxi lights when the flaps are retracted on departure and switch them back on the moment the gear is lowered for the landing.


As Aquila has stated Taxi lights go on as you taxy. They are much smaller and aimed lower than the landing lights (which are designed to illuminate the entire landing zone on finals!)

The taxi lights and the runway turnoff lights are attached to the nose gear and will come off when the landing gear is retracted. The landing lights are either under the wing (airbus) or in the wing root (boeing) and are generally on below 10,000ft.