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What Are Aircraft Aviation Lights Used For?

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If you’ve been in an aircraft before, you’ll notice plenty of lights installed in different external sections of a plane, especially during night travel. These various light fixtures in aircraft are what pilots and airport personnel use for safety and navigation. 

There are two general categories of external lights in aviation. The first one is beacons or navigation lights, illuminated when the aircraft is operational. The second type is landing and takeoff lights, which improve plane visibility on or close to the ground. 

And if you want to learn more about aviation lights, below are some of them discussed in further detail.

Navigation Lights

Almost all modern aircraft will have a steady light on the edge of each wingtip. If you are a pilot facing forward, the left wing will have a red light, and the right will have green. These lights tell the plane’s direction, especially other pilots during night travel.

Navigation or Position Lights

Besides the green and red lights, other planes will have white navigation lights in other locations. For example, large airliners have trail lights on each wingtip and horizontal tail. But regardless of the location, its purpose remains the same. And that is to improve the visibility of the rear part of the aircraft.

Anti-Collision Beacon Lights

There are two beacon lights installed in your fuselage’s center. One is on the top, and the other is on the bottom. Both are reddish-orange and rotate to produce a flashing effect. It serves as a warning to ground personnel that engines are operational.

Strobe Lights 

There are white-colored, high-intensity strobe lights on each wingtip of a plane. But smaller planes will only have one on the leading edge of either green or red navigation light. On the other hand, larger aircraft will have an additional strobe light on its trailing edge. These lights are for attracting attention during the flight. And also makes the plane more conspicuous during taxi and when it’s on the runway.

Logo Lights 

These are optional lights typically used in commercial aircraft. The lights illuminate the company logo on the vertical tail. 

Although it is for advertising purposes, it also makes the aircraft more visible.

Wing Lights

Most airliners will have lights along the wings’ root leading to the ledge to illuminate the engine pylons and wings during flight. Pilots also use these lights to inspect if ice accretion forms on the wings and slats when passing through clouds.

Taxi Lights

Most planes will have a bright white lamp on their landing gear strut to provide greater visibility when the aircraft is on the ground, taking off or landing.

Landing Lights

As the name suggests, landing lights increase visibility when planes land on the runway. It can also  illuminate poorly lit runways. These lights are essential during a night landing, but pilots also use them in the daytime to make the aircraft more visible. 

Landing lights’ location can vary from the wing root, the outboard wing, and the forward fuselage.

Runway Turnoff Lights 

Typically located on the wing root’s leading-edge, these bright white lamps illuminate the front and side of the aircraft during taxi. It’s most useful in poorly lit airports but is unnecessary if not. It can also increase the visibility of the plane during flight.

Wheel Well Lights

Some planes have additional lights in their nose and main gear wheels. These lights help ground personnel in their pre-flight inspection at night.


Aviation lights are essential for general safety and increased visibility. Without them, accidents are sure to happen. And nobody wants that. So buying quality lights from trusted merchants like is a must to ensure nothing bad happens before, during, and after the flight.