The Importance of Aircraft Headlights

If you’ve ever looked upwards toward the night sky, you’ve likely witnessed an airplane’s journey. Even on the darkest of nights or on the cloudiest of days, the aircraft lights on an airplane will still manage to shine through, making the entire aircraft’s journeying visible to onlookers below. Most people never really think about what the lights mean, or how they are coordinated, but like with most things, there is an important rule for each and every light that is placed on an aircraft.

The lights placed on the aircraft are called “anti collision lights”. Just as the name indicates, these lights are designed to let ground personnel and other pilots know that an aircraft is flying in their direction. There are three different types of lights on an aircraft, which you can see below:

  • White Strobe Lights - These are the lights that you see every time you see an airplane flying through the skies. Located on the wing tips, these white strobe lights are blinding when viewed closely, but when viewed from a distance during even the most cloudiest of days, they shine brilliantly through to illuminate the plane.
  • Red Beacons - Positioned on the top and bottom of the aircraft, these beacons begin to flash some moments before the engine starts and are turned off after the engine is turned off. The red beacons let ground personnel know that the engines have started and that they should move aside. Being around a plane when its engine is on can be dangerous and these beacons help mitigate any risk.
  • Red, Green, and White Position Lights - These lights are specially positioned on an aircraft to let ground personnel and other pilots know that the position of the plane. These lights consist of red and green lights, the former being positioned on the left aviation wing and the latter being located on the right wing

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