Aircraft Lighting Systems

The aircraft lighting system is paramount to many flight operations in providing illumination and visibility within the interior and exterior of the aircraft. Through the use of exterior lighting systems and fixtures, aircraft are capable of performing standard operations during night hours safely. Additionally, exterior lighting can assist in deicing procedures and preflight inspections, furthering their benefits. Within the interior, lighting also provides visibility for passengers, crew members, and pilots alike, and light may even offer use for the operation of special equipment. In this blog, we will provide an overview of the main types of aircraft lighting fixtures, allowing you to better understand how aircraft maintain safe operations in low-light conditions.

Exterior lighting parts include all fixtures that are located on the exterior of the aircraft. In order to conduct flight operations during night hours, some exterior lights may be required. As one of the primary exterior lighting fixtures, position lights serve to convey the direction and orientation of the aircraft for others operating around them. Consisting of three light bulbs, a red light is placed on the left wing, a green light on the right wing, and a white light on the vertical stabilizer. With lighting controls located within the cockpit, pilots can operate the position lights to either be steady or flashing. Depending on the aircraft and its construction, position lights may vary in their operation and position, and some may feature equipment for protection. In more recent years, LED lights have served as the most popular light bulbs for position lighting, due to the fact that they shine very brightly and consume low amounts of power.

As another exterior lighting fixture that provides for safety, anti-collision lights are used to ensure that aircraft can see one another to avoid coming too close or colliding. The anti-collision system typically consists of one or more lights, some coming in the form of rotating beams. To avoid blinding the pilot of the aircraft, anti-collision light parts are placed on the top of the fuselage or tail. If the aircraft is a larger transport, two rotating lights may be implemented on both the top and bottom of the fuselage. With the use of an electric motor, the lights may revolve and exhibit a flash rate of up to 100 cycles per minute. Coupled with an LED light bulb and red glass housing, a bright light can be provided for higher visibility.

When conducting a landing procedure during night hours, landing and taxi lights are useful for achieving more runway visibility. With a parabolic reflector, powerful lighting can be directed towards the ground. Across most aircraft, landing and taxi lights are often placed on the wings and may be controlled by relays or electric circuits. Taxi lights are typically not as bright as landing lights, due to the fact that they are mostly used for transporting the aircraft around runways and hangers. On aircraft that feature tricycle landing gear, light bulbs may be present in order to assist in operations. If the aircraft is small and light, then the landing lights may serve as taxi lights as well.

As the final major type of exterior lighting, wing inspection lights assist pilots during preflight inspections so that they may spot hazardous icing conditions or damages. For their lighting controls, pilots may operate the wing inspection lights from the cockpit with a toggle switch. On some aircraft models, the wing inspection lights may be a part of a larger assembly that includes nacelle lights for the illumination of landing gear or cowl flaps.

While exterior lights are very beneficial for conducting operations during low-light conditions, it is also critical that there is enough light provided within the interior of the aircraft as well. Within the cabin of the aircraft, lights are used to provide illumination for crew members and passengers alike. For commercial aircraft that focus on passenger transportation, an independent lighting system is often implemented, permitting each passenger to have individual lighting controls so that they may adjust illumination as they personally see fit. Generally speaking, many modern aircraft employ LED light bulbs for the cabin and cockpit, due to the fact that they can provide high amounts of visible light while drawing low amounts of power. Depending on the aircraft and its configuration, cabin light fixtures can include wash lights, cargo compartment lights, dome lights, passenger reading lights, and much more.

To help guide passengers through the aircraft during low-light situations and emergencies, LED informational signs can be used to provide crucial information. LED informational signs can come in many different forms to accommodate varying needs, ranging from lavatory occupation signs to emergency exit signs. Additionally, lighting may also be used to illuminate floor paths to guide passengers towards designated emergency exits if needed.

Within the cockpit, lighting may be provided for the flight deck in order to illuminate various controls and systems. With aircraft lighting parts such as console lights, map reading lights, chart holder lights, and much more, pilots can ensure visibility so that they may efficiently operate the aircraft with safety. To further promote visibility and assist in flight operations, indicator and warning lights may be used in order to indicate the operational statuses of equipment pieces.

With the aircraft lighting system, flight operations can be conducted during night hours with ease. To ensure that lighting parts and controls are working as intended, operators should have wiring, terminals, switches, fuses, and connections inspected regularly. Furthermore, reliable light bulbs and lighting parts should also be used to guarantee long-service lives and proper illumination. When you are in the market for aircraft lighting parts that have been sourced from top global manufacturers, look no further than Fulfillment by ASAP. As a leader among aircraft part distributors, we can help you secure the new, used, and obsolete components that you have been searching for with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times. If you would like to receive a personalized quote on items that you are interested in, we invite you to fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website. Once received, a member of our staff will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less to continue the purchasing process.


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December 30, 2020

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