Strobe lights

I’d like to know how to properly use strobe lights (when to turn them on and off).
Is it when you enter any runway (crossing and lining up etc…) OR is it once you’ve got the clearance to take off?

I think that general is the best category to put this topic: RWA is to discuss about interests and experiences and Support is for support with IF.
I think that this is both relating in RWA and Support but the descriptions for these categories aren’t really relating with my topic.
I do not want anybody, with exceptions to those with the moderator shield next to their name, to edit my post in any way. Edits must also be justified. Thank you.

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Hi joe

Strobes aren’t compulsory until just before take off. I usually turn them on at the hold short line, after takeoff they must be kept ON throughout the flight until landing. They aren’t however needed throughout taxi.

Hope this helps!


So after receiving takeoff clearance, turn them on? & turn them off when I turn off my landing lights once I land? Thanks Harry

Hi joe

I’ll give you a quick overview of light altercations and commands.

While commencing Pre-flight checks (On ground before taxi clearance) have both Beacon Lights and Navigation lights switched to ON. Once checks are complete and the captain has planned your flight route (Usually by FMC IRL) Landing Lights are switched to the ON position, along with the Taxi lights (However not currently in IF). Strobe lights should remain OFF until pre-takeoff checklist is commenced. In terms of IF strobe lights SHOULD be activated right before takeoff, either whilst holding short of said runaway or while in the ‘Line up and wait’ stage. Once you have rotated Strobe, Landing, Beacon and Navigation lights must remain ON. When at 9000+ feet landing lights are cleared to be switched OFF, whilst keeping all other lights and navigational signals ON. Once landing, same again; below 9000ft landing lights should be switched ON along with all other lights until taxi clearance to parking is authorised.

Hope this helps, there’s a lot more to it but in terms of IF this is the basics.



That’s great Harry! Thanks!
A couple of last questions:

  1. Once I’ve had clearance to taxi to parking, do I turn off landing and strobe?
  2. A bit off topic but do I also make my flaps at 0 and trim 0% when i’ve had clearance to taxi to parking too?

Strobe lights on: When you are cleared to enter the runway
Strobe lights off: After landing when you vacated the runway.


Hi joe,

Landing lights MUST remain on whilst on ground until engine shutdown and ‘Pre-subs’ are done. So in terms of IF landing lights should be on until you have parked the aircraft. Strobe lights must be switched off when you have exited the runway and vice versa when entering the runway. This is to avoid interference with ground personnel and operations.

Good question too, it’s useful to know to ensure a realistic experience.

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Strobes are needed on takeoff, in flight, landing, and if you cross a runway. Basically whenever you are flying or on a runway.

Rotate I was ALWAYS taught to keep landing lights on during taxi before or after flight. This is to show operational aircraft that are soon to be or are currently moving (Engines live). I highly doubt this requirement alters from country to country, I assume it’s a universal requirement.

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Hi Rotate,

True, there are no regulations regarding landing lights and if to have them on during taxi. But I was informed by my instructor a while back that pilots usually keep landing lights on after pushback and just before parking.

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to landing lights… there are the landing lights and then there is the front wheel light… pilots will turn off the landing lights but leave the front wheel light on. Second, lets say you must cross a runway. Landing lights will be turned on upon crossing the hold short line crossing the runway and then be turned off when crossing the hold shirt line on the other side of the runway.

Strobes will be places on from the time you are first in line for take off and will be shut off when exiting and clear of ALL runways.

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This thread has a lot of information.

Basically to answer your question strobes only go on when entering the runway, and only come off when you are exiting the runway after landinng.

Landing lights go on when entering the runway then come off once above 10,000ft. When descending below 10,000ft landing lights go back on and remain on until exiting the runway after landing.

@Harry GA aircraft may often use landing lights through to parking / engine shut off, but commercial aircraft do not. Landing lights are switched on / off crossing 10,000ft. They are switched on upon entering the runway, and switched off after vacating. Taxi lights are used for taxi, they are nowhere near as intense. Landing lights can be seen and are extremely bright and obvious to the tower from 10 miles away with planes on final, imagine other pilots having to taxi towards these same lights only 200 feet away…

In IF however, as there are no taxi lights, it’s a bit of an unwritten rule and general agreement that landing lights be kept on for the taxi stage…

Beacon Lights: always ON, since it’s not possible to turn off the engines
Navigation Lights: always ON with bad visibility and during night, you can turn them off with good visibility and daylight while you are standing at the parking spot
Strobe Lights: ON during the whole flight and when crossing a runway
Landing Lights: ON below 10.000 ft and when crossing a runway. I personally turn them off while taxiing

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Bear in mind I only pilot small single prop aircraft, and as instructed by my instructor. I was also informed by my uncle who is a pilot for easy jet that occasionally pilots will use landing lights when taxiing in conditions with low visibility due to ground personnel. But, never the less, I may here stand corrected. Than,s Mitchell.

Because there is no engine shut down and start up, I use the beacon and Nav lights to indicate this. Basically, when I spawn, I immediately turn all my External lights off and turn all my cabin lights on ( seat belts, smoking), while I make my flight plan, as you know, sometimes this can take a while especially in a new region with unfamiliar airport tags. So for G_d’s sake don’t ask me for intentions when my lights are ‘off’ I AM PLANNING AND SETTING UP FLIGHT SYSTEMS and I like to take my sweet time doing it. Once I have finished flight planning, I set flaps and desired altitude, then I turn on beacon light and request push back. After pushback, I turn on my Nav lights and tell ground I am ready to taxi. Once taxi clearance is received, I turn on Landing lights and move to the run way. While in line if there is no aircraft behind me, but aircraft before me, I ‘flash’ my strobes in a slower pattern. IE: on - 1,2 - off; repeat ( sort of ‘flash, flash’ pause, ‘flash, flash’) untill another plane comes up behind be then they stay off untill I am actually on the runway when they are switched on. ( mainly for the benefit of night flyers as they have such a retarded lighting experience to begin with, with no internal cockpit or instrument lights, no taxi lights, no taxiing lights either) At 9,000 I turn off landing lights. At desired alt and heading, I turn off cabin lights ( yeah, I let them smoke - lol). On landing, 2 mins or so prior to initial decent I turn on cabin lights and head to 10,100. Drop speed to 240. Then I begin decent to final and turn on landing lights at 10,000. After landing and before contacting ground for parking clearance once off the runway hold threshold I cut my strobes. At the parking bay, I cut landing lights, turn off cabin lights, cut Nav lights, cut beacon light, thank ground, and clear my flight plan. Then I either exit, or replan. At least this is what I do.

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I also turn my landing lights on when changing altitudes. That way people can see you changing altitude

Not really needed. But what ever suits you.