Re: Landing lights question

Date:         17 Mar 2001 08:33:30 
From:         James Robinson <>
Organization: Disorganized
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Jeff wrote:
> At what point to landing lights get turned on and why at that point?
> I saw airliners approaching Pearson airport the other evening here in
> Toronto and they had lights on quite some time prior to landing and I
> wondered why so early since they can't serve much purpose until they are
> right over the runway.

It's not so much that the lights are used by the pilot to see where he
is going, as it increases the aircraft's visibility to other traffic.
It's the same reason why daytime running lights on your car are used:
not so you can see where you are driving, but so other drivers can see
your car better and not run into you.

Some airlines have a policy that require pilots to turn on their landing
lights whenever they are below a certain altitude.  Sometimes the
airport control tower will request the lights so the controller can see
the aircraft as they closely approach the runway when VFR is being
used.  An sometimes the pilots will illuminate the lights themselves to
help other aircraft see them.