reply to post by CX
Just as in nautical standards, aircraft lighting follows the basics.
Left is red, right is green. There is a white, steady light, aft.
In the....I think, late 1950s, airplanes were required to include what then were called 'rotating beacons'. Much like a Lighthouse, they were
stationary lights (under a red lense) with a mirror that rotated, by means of an electric motor, to shine in a 'blinking' fashion to the
In the early Seventies, as strobe lights were invented, those pesky 'rotating beacons', with all the wieght and complexity, were replaced. far more
reliable, and lots of excess weight removed.
It was also in the Seventies that white strobe lights were deemed mandatory for airplanes. A flashing red 'beacon' was deemed inadequate, as
airspace became more crowded.
Strobes were mandated at the wingtips, at a minimum. Modern jets also have them in the tail.
Here are the rules....'Navigation Lights', as they're called....the two wingtips, and the tail, are required during 'night' operations. At most
airlines, they are on all the time, regardless...in fact, modern jets have at least two light bulbs ini each position, so if one is burned out, you
can continue with a maintenance delay.
The 'beacon' is, in modern commercial aviation, to indicate that an engine is running, or that the pilots are preparing to start an engine.
THIS is on our "Before Start' checklist, at the Airlines....usually after the 'Seatbelt' sign is turned on, we turn on the 'beacon', as part of
the checklist. Ground crew know, they see the tug hooked up, they see the tug driver is plugged in with his headset...all baggage doors are closed,
the JETWAY IS removed....this is the dance of how airlines work, orchestrated day in, day out.
Strobe lights, and flashing red 'beacons', were intended to help in noticing other airplanes.
The 'red/green/white' is for orientation....'is the craft (boat or airplane) coming towards me, or away from me?'
Whew! Lots of words...to the kind bloke who asked the initial question.....
Different airplanes exhibit different 'strobe' flash patterns.
The white strobes are going to be most obvious, since they are so bright.
Not sure which Forum I'm currently on.....but, if you see something in the sky, and it's flashing in any other color than, red, green or
white.....say blue or yellow.....then pay attention, get your camcorder.....
BECAUSE....airplanes use red, green and white. Even the Landing Lights are bright white!!!!