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1 Answers

What’s the bright white light for?

Asked by: 1359 views Commercial Pilot

Hello. I live inside the traffic pattern of McCarren airport in Las Vegas, Nv. My question, is one of curiosity...Commercial heavy aircraft, after takeoff, while they are still in the pattern, I have noticed at night (of course) that a bright white light, seems to be aimed back at the tower. It's not a landing light, but seems to emanate from the side of some aircraft. Also, the light will turn on and off sometimes as much as five times. I'm a private pilot, and have noticed this activity frequently as planes fly off over my house. Is it some sort of communication? Does this light come on when the pilot keys his microphone? I hope someone has an answer, this is bugg'n me big time!

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1 Answers

  1. Kris Kortokrax on Nov 24, 2015

    The lights are not used for communication.
    They are not activated by the pilot keying the microphone.

    There are numerous exterior lights on larger airplanes besides landing, taxi and anti-collision.

    Logo lights shine on the company’s logo on the tail.
    Ice lights on some aircraft shine on the wing so the crew can see if there is ice forming on the wing.
    Recognition lights for extra visibility, typically on below 10,000 feet.

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