Re: Airliner lights

Date:         20 Mar 97 02:38:33 
From:         Matthew Willshee <96mjw@eng.cam.ac.uk>
Organization: University of Cambridge, England
References:   1 2
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On 9 Mar 1997, Fred Christiansen wrote:

> Jean-Francois Mezei ("[nospam]jfmezei"@videotron.ca) wrote:
> > Are they designed solely "to be seen" or do they also help pilots see
> > what is out there ?
>
> My guess has been that pilots turn on these lights as a matter of ritual.
> That is, day or night, you always do the same thing, and then you never
> have to pause to think whether they go on or not, nor risk forgetting
> to turn them on when actually needed.

A couple of months ago, papers in the UK reported an air near miss
involving (IIRC) a BA aircraft in a poorly controlled piece of airspace
over Africa. The co-pilot blamed the incident on the fact that the
aircraft landing lights were turned off.  He said this was a cost cutting
measure (which the airline immediately denied).  Apparently, at night in
advisory air-traffic controlled areas, the lights on the other aircraft
might be the only warning you get that someone is coming the other way.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Matthew Willshee  (Engineering Undergraduate)  E-Mail: mjw44@cam.ac.uk
Churchill College, Cambridge                         : 96mjw@eng.cam.ac.uk