Pilot's tip of the week

Lights for Day VFR


Subscriber question:

"I'm a relatively new pilot and have seen several different approaches to using the aircraft lights. What do you recommend?" — Astor M.


“Use of external lights during day visual conditions is hardly addressed in the regulations. However, there are many possible ways that external lighting may be used. In addition to whatever is required per the POH and the regulations of the country I’m flying in, I follow what is the most common SOP for commercial operators.

  • Nav lights: On when master switch turned on.
  • Beacon light (or strobes if no beacon is installed): On prior to engine start.
  • Taxi light (or landing light if there’s no separate taxi light): On when the aircraft is about to start taxing, left on while the airplane is moving, and turned off when it is stopped.
  • Strobe lights: On whenever entering a runway
  • Landing light: On when cleared for takeoff at a towered airport or starting the take off roll at a non-towered airport.

The order is reversed when arriving at the destination airport and taxing into parking. I also follow the FAA recommendation to leave the landing light on when in the vicinity of any airport to increase the visibility of the airplane.”

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