Re: Dangerous Aircraft lighting

Date:         20 Aug 97 02:38:34 
From: (Edward Hahn)
Organization: The MITRE Corporation
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1997.1805@ohare.Chicago.COM>, caribb <> wrote:
>The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an interesting article
>concerning the aircraft visability while taxing on airport tarmacs. In
>effect it talked about how airplanes have not got a standardised
>lighting system to clearly identify what type of plane they are and what
>they are doing. Control towers operators have trouble actually
>physically spotting planes on the ground at night and airlines are
>making it even harder by turining off their "logo lights" on their tails
>in order to save money. Futhermore smaller planes have even less
>lighting than the larger ones. All this contributes to possible danger
>when trying to coordinate where they are going and who sees each other.
>Anyone from North America or Europe have any insight on this?

By ICAO Annex 6, all airliners must have a certain number and kind of lighting
installed and operating at night.  These are your basic position lights, nav
lights/strobes, and wingtip lights.

Some airlines put additional lighting on their aircraft for other reasons, but
not all.  For example, the logo lights the article refers to are options on
most aircraft, and some airlines do not have them installed - AA for example.
Logo light operation, by the way, is often controlled by marketing preference
rather than by regulation.

Thus, while the Chronicle says there is not a standard for lighting, there is
in fact a standard, and all airlines follow it.  However, the standards for
lighting may not be sufficient to specifically identify aircraft type and
identity, as the article points out.

I have no opinion on whether the airlines or other operators should be
compelled by regulation to install additional lighting beyond the standard.
I'm sure the ATC people know what they would like to see.


>>>>  Ed Hahn    |    |    (703) 883-5988  <<<<
The above statement is the opinion of the author.  No endorsement
or warranty by the MITRE Corporation is expressed or implied.
Really, I wouldn't kid you about a thing like this.