When to use aircraft lights?

You may want to thank me for this if you don’t know the correct way.

Commercial aviation

  • navigation lights = when taxing or flying in the night or when electrical power is on. Keep on till complete shutdown

  • Beacon lights = turn on before engine start up. turn off after engine shutdown

  • Strobes = turn on when on a runway(also use when crossing a runway) and keep on when airborne

  • Landing lights = turn on when you are cleared for take-off, if you are told to line up and wait, keep them off until you are cleared to take-off. keep on until passing 10000ft. when landing turn them on when passing under 10000ft and keep on till you vacate the runway.

  • Taxi lights = during taxi

  • logo = turn on when on the ground, when taxing. turn off when airborne, and turn back on before landing

General aviation

  • Navigation lights = when taxing or flying in the night

  • Beacon lights = turn on before engine start up, turn off after engine shutdown

  • Strobes = Night - on when on a runway and airborne and at daytime - optional

  • Landing lights = Night - for take-off and landings, in the daytime - on final (optional)

  • Taxi lights = when needed for taxi

I do hope this helps you a lot, and also in the future as some of these lights, we don’t even have yet.


this sounds pretty straight forward and quite interesting. thanks for this!
im sure a lot of people will have a look at this post!


why thank you very much
and I’m sure people will, thanks

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Okay I did not know that…

I guess you learn something new every day 😄👌👍


with this topic, are you also referring to IF or just the real world?

see whats wrong is when you first spawn in IF the beacon lights are on already, in which they shouldn’t, until you pushback, but I’m sure it will change when Global comes out

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Yes, probably because of engine start/stop

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Here’s how I know what to do for GA.
My lambs has white anti-collision lights on the wings. (Strobes)
For us it’s strobes on before engine start
Nav lights 1hour before sunset and 1 hour after sunrise. Taxi light-taxing around the airport. Better visibility for other planes. Landing light-on Takeoff and Final approach along with Taxi light on

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Real world because this is in the RWA category. However, this could also be applied to IF (with the exception of taxi and logo lights).


if that right, then the FAA are wrong

Oh ok thanks for that

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It’s what I’ve been taught. All pilots come up with that they like too do best that suits them and applies to the FAA. Neither way is wrong or right. It just helps me with my flows in the cockpit when I’m flying

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Wait, I heared that NAV lights are turned in the first day of the aircraft flying until when it will retire + it turned off for maintenance

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They must have some seriously long life bulbs! 😂

I’ve a feel someone is pulling your leg.


They still can change lights on planes they don’t last forever.


It was a joke, thanks for clearing up the obvious 😂🙈

Just for clarity, they’re only required to be operated during sunset to sunrise.

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Add they should be off when flying through clouds

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never heard of that rule before, why is that?

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In GA planes they can reflect off the clouds causing weird optical illusions and disorienting the pilot


but we don’t have clouds at the moment, in IF but I can change it is we do.