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Plane Taking Off From Denver Airport Flashing Landing Lights

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posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 10:59 AM
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Last evening about 9:30pm, I saw a plane apparently take off from Denver International Airport. I live west of the airport about 25 miles. When the plane took off it had it landing lights on for quite some time. They were on for about 2 minutes, which is longer than most of the other planes taking off. The plane was heading west, towards my house.

At about 2 or 3 minutes into the flight, the plane started flashing its landing lights. They flashed on and off about 10-12 times, slowly and seemingly deliberately. After this it was out of my sight, but kept flying west.

A Google search pulled up information that this can be used as a signal related to intercepting another aircraft, but there were no other planes even close to this one.

Any pilots out there know what this could mean or why this plane was doing that?




posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:23 AM
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reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 




A Google search pulled up information that this can be used as a signal related to intercepting another aircraft, but there were no other planes even close to this one.


So is it like flashing your headlights at a car? It must be.

Have you heard this urban legend? www.snopes.com...

So I bet we're both thinking the same thing.

That even in outerspace this is only an urban legend. So when you're flying and you flash your landing lights at a gangbanging alien they aren't going to chase you down and zap you.

That is what you were thinking, right?

Good to know! S+F



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:26 AM
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Could have just been a systems check.
Perhaps the pilot received a warning light in the cockpit, radioed back to the tower to see if the lights were working.

Pilot activates lights, tower confirms that they are functioning, and then the lights are turned off.

Much safer his way then waiting for the tower at the destination to confirm this for you as you are making final approach.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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Originally posted by youdidntseeme
Could have just been a systems check.
Perhaps the pilot received a warning light in the cockpit, radioed back to the tower to see if the lights were working.

Pilot activates lights, tower confirms that they are functioning, and then the lights are turned off.

Much safer his way then waiting for the tower at the destination to confirm this for you as you are making final approach.


Plausible, but the plane was maintaining a steady course away from the airport, and it continued well past where the tower could be much help. Also, anyone in the cockpit would have easily been able to see the illumination from the landing lights. Good thought, though.
edit on 3/12/12 by AnonymousCitizen because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:31 AM
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reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 


The tower may have alerted the plane to the presence of another aircraft in the area. We've all seen stories on a near misses between Commercial aircraft and a privately owned one.

With the speeds that aircraft fly, the closing distance is quite fast and to top it off it is a 360 degree enviroment.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:37 AM
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Most likely, another probably small private aircraft, was called to watch for "traffic" (other aircraft) and could NOT see the called traffic from airtraffic control, and the plane flashed it's landing lights to be more easily identified.

Any pilots on the site? I was a student pilot years ago. I did not get my license (for numerous reasons, one it was getting a bit too expensive of a hobby and second I had developed some eyesight problems). However; I completed ground school and about 20 hours of logged flight time. I also spent 8 years in the Civil Air Patrol; anyways, I am fairly versed on aviation subjects. That would be my likely answer. But if there are any current active pilots on here they might be able to expand further on this.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:39 AM
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reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 


What you saw "flashing lights" are simply that, they're just warning lights for other aircraft and personnel on the ground. Nothing to imply here. Typically below 10,000 feet they'll have these on. Lots of aircraft have this option to switch on at the discretion of the pilot, it's not required. It's NOT a conspiracy.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Vinny5036
reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 


What you saw "flashing lights" are simply that, they're just warning lights for other aircraft and personnel on the ground. Nothing to imply here. Typically below 10,000 feet they'll have these on. Lots of aircraft have this option to switch on at the discretion of the pilot, it's not required. It's NOT a conspiracy.


I never suggested it was some conspiracy. This is in current events, not conspiracy theories.

This was a slow, deliberate flashing of the landing lights. I've lived here for twelve years and have seen thousands of planes fly over during that time, and this is the first one that I've seen flash their landing lights like this.

It seemed very out the ordinary and I'm just trying to see if anyone on here with expertise may know the purpose.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:47 AM
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reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 



When the plane took off it had it landing lights on for quite some time. They were on for about 2 minutes, which is longer than most of the other planes taking off.


If it was an airliner (and not a private jet charter of some sort), then normally as a matter of routine we have the landing lights at all times when below 18,000 feet MSL (in the clouds, we turn them off.....because of the distraction. It's like having your car's high beams on when driving in the fog).


The deliberate flashing of landing lights as you described, in that scenario, sounds to me like one of the pilots was doing if for the benefit of someone on the ground. Perhaps he/she lives there, and wanted his/her family to see the airplane, etc.

I know of people who have done that before.

Another thing to add...though not related to this event.

We will sometimes use the landing lights (just one) as a sort of "tip of the hat", or a "salute" to another airplane as we pass opposite directions. This of course at cruise altitudes, when no one is very busy.


Also, bit of trivia....next time you fly somewhere, note the operations on the ramp at the airport. After push-back, and just prior to taxi out, you usually see the nose gear taxi light flash...this is also a "salute" of sorts, this time to the ground crew.

It literally is an acknowledgement from the flight crew, after the ground lead indicates (by his/her own standard salute) that the airplane is "clear to taxi". Alternately, if there is good line-of-sight, the Captain may just return the salute with the hand, rather than the nose gear taxi light. Option is always his/hers.
edit on Mon 12 March 2012 by ProudBird because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 


As I said...nothing to worry about. I am a private pilot and have used these many times when visibility is either poor or not. It's an added safety feature on some aircraft. You may not see them much as it's not required by FAA..but, landing lights below 10,000 feet are required. Up here near Chicago, you'll see them all the time.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:52 AM
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Originally posted by ProudBird
reply to post by AnonymousCitizen
 



When the plane took off it had it landing lights on for quite some time. They were on for about 2 minutes, which is longer than most of the other planes taking off.


If it was an airliner (and not a private jet charter of some sort), then normally as a matter of routine we have the landing lights at all times when below 18,000 feet MSL (in the clouds, we turn them off.....because of the distraction. It's like having your car's high beams on when driving in the fog).


The deliberate flashing of landing lights as you described, in that scenario, sounds to me like one of the pilots was doing if for the benefit of someone on the ground. Perhaps he/she lives there, and wanted his/her family to see the airplane, etc.

I know of people who have done that before.


Let me correct you. FAA says below 10,000...not 18,000. Secondly, no (professional) pilot in their right mind would turn off/on lights for the benefit of family on the ground.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:59 AM
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Just to add some additional information, if it helps.

This was a large airliner, not a small, private plane. The sky was exceptionally clear. I could see no other air traffic nearby, which is also unusual this side of the airport.

The plane did however, fly over a smaller regional airport. But it was well above where any traffic from that airport would have been.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:04 PM
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reply to post by Vinny5036
 


Sorry, but the FAA's recommendation is one thing......the reality of what we do is another.


Let me correct you. FAA says below 10,000...not 18,000. Secondly, no (professional) pilot in their right mind would turn off/on lights for the benefit of family on the ground.



In normal airline operations (in the USA) we use 18,000 feet as the level for turning on and off the landing lights. I should know!!


On ascent, since 18,000 is the transition altitude, we set the altimeters to 29.92 because above 18,000 everything is a Flight Level. So, as a routine, we also use that same benchmark to urn off the landing lights (and any other exterior lights, except the navs, beacons and strobes). Some airplanes, like oh....the B-757 and 767, have "runway turnoff lights"....like cornering lights on your car. Those are on too, along with the landing lights, under 18,000'.

On descent, there is a specific checklist (the "In Range" checklist) that is accomplished....to set the local altimeter setting, brief for the arrival (pre-brief, or full brief...depends) and other things. If not on already, the Seat Belt sign comes on then...this is an approximate "10-minutes to go" signal to the F/As.

And, the landing lights and other exterior lights come on...again, though....if in the clouds, these may be delayed until later.


Now, the flashing of the lights for the benefit of someone you know on the ground?? I have personally seen it done, and also heard the stories from others.

In fact, a DC-10 Captain I flew with, way back in the past when I was fairly new, made a point of telling the passengers....because, on the DC-10, there were a pair of landing lights that retracted aft and flush into the fuselage when off. But, when on (two position switch...."EXTEND", and "ON") they stuck out into the airstream....and at speeds above 250 knots (as when above 10,000 feet) they made a bit of noise, especially in the First Class cabin.

So, he told the pax what he was doing, and what the sound would be.

Sorry to prove you wrong, but .......



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by AnonymousCitizen
Just to add some additional information, if it helps.

This was a large airliner, not a small, private plane. The sky was exceptionally clear. I could see no other air traffic nearby, which is also unusual this side of the airport.

The plane did however, fly over a smaller regional airport. But it was well above where any traffic from that airport would have been.


Dude, give it up..nothing to see here. It's totally normal.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:09 PM
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reply to post by Vinny5036
 


That's fine if you don't know. No harm, but don't you tell me what to ask about or not. If you're not interested, leave.

Like I said, I've lived here for more than twelve years. When I'm outside I see planes take off from this airport about every 45 seconds on a normal night. In that time, I've never seen a plane do this and thought someone on this forum may know what the purpose was.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by Vinny5036no (professional) pilot in their right mind would turn off/on lights for the benefit of family on the ground.


I dunno about that.

When your house is in the middle of the approach pattern it could be a good idea to flash everything a couple of times as a signal to wifey to keep the dinner ready in 30 minutes.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by Ivar_Karlsen

Originally posted by Vinny5036no (professional) pilot in their right mind would turn off/on lights for the benefit of family on the ground.


I dunno about that.

When your house is in the middle of the approach pattern it could be a good idea to flash everything a couple of times as a signal to wifey to keep the dinner ready in 30 minutes.


Ha! Sadly, that's the best explanation so far. Too bad it was taking off, not landing.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:30 PM
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Originally posted by AnonymousCitizenToo bad it was taking off, not landing.


Another possible explanation is that one of the pilots flipped the wrong switch, i've done it more than a few times myself.

Easily done when the hand is ahead of the brain after a hasty turnaround.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:33 PM
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Sorry, but the FAA's recommendation is one thing......the reality of what we do is another.


Let me correct you. FAA says below 10,000...not 18,000. Secondly, no (professional) pilot in their right mind would turn off/on lights for the benefit of family on the ground.



In normal airline operations (in the USA) we use 18,000 feet as the level for turning on and off the landing lights. I should know!!


On ascent, since 18,000 is the transition altitude, we set the altimeters to 29.92 because above 18,000 everything is a Flight Level. So, as a routine, we also use that same benchmark to urn off the landing lights (and any other exterior lights, except the navs, beacons and strobes). Some airplanes, like oh....the B-757 and 767, have "runway turnoff lights"....like cornering lights on your car. Those are on too, along with the landing lights, under 18,000'.

On descent, there is a specific checklist (the "In Range" checklist) that is accomplished....to set the local altimeter setting, brief for the arrival (pre-brief, or full brief...depends) and other things. If not on already, the Seat Belt sign comes on then...this is an approximate "10-minutes to go" signal to the F/As.

And, the landing lights and other exterior lights come on...again, though....if in the clouds, these may be delayed until later.


Now, the flashing of the lights for the benefit of someone you know on the ground?? I have personally seen it done, and also heard the stories from others.

In fact, a DC-10 Captain I flew with, way back in the past when I was fairly new, made a point of telling the passengers....because, on the DC-10, there were a pair of landing lights that retracted aft and flush into the fuselage when off. But, when on (two position switch...."EXTEND", and "ON") they stuck out into the airstream....and at speeds above 250 knots (as when above 10,000 feet) they made a bit of noise, especially in the First Class cabin.

So, he told the pax what he was doing, and what the sound would be.

Sorry to prove you wrong, but .......







Wikipedia


Legal considerations

In many jurisdictions the landing light fixtures in the aircraft and the lamps they use must both be certified for use in a given aircraft by a government authority.

The actual use of landing lights may or may not be required or forbidden by local regulations, depending on time of day or night, weather, airport conditions, aircraft conditions, the type of operation being carried out (take-off, landing, etc.), and other factors.

In the United States, for example, landing lights are not required to be present or used for many types of aircraft, but their use is strongly encouraged, both for take-off and landing and during any operations below 10,000 feet (3,000 m) AGL or within ten nautical miles of an airport. For transport category aircraft and some operations with other types of aircraft, landing lights are required to be present and used. Landing lights must be certified safe and adequate for their purpose before installation.

Listen genus...I'm beginning to think you know nothing about flying except for Microsoft. The FAA doesn't "recommend" anything..they DEMAND through strict regulation that you abide by rules and regulations submitted through a little book called the "FAR-AIM".

You've proven nothing other than you know very little about flying or piloting. I know, Microsoft Flight Simulator and the internet are your friends.

Please, save the b.s. crap that you know everything about flying, when you know nothing.

Me? I've accumulated over 3,600 hours of flying..have a private, instrument, instructor instrument, commercial, and multi engine certifications. I actually worked my way through college flying bank checks red-eye for several years. I've spent time flying chartering and for hire. I've flown and have checked out in over 21 different crafts. Don't pee on our legs and tell us it's raining. Save it, you're no pilot.



posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by Ivar_Karlsen

Originally posted by Vinny5036no (professional) pilot in their right mind would turn off/on lights for the benefit of family on the ground.


I dunno about that.

When your house is in the middle of the approach pattern it could be a good idea to flash everything a couple of times as a signal to wifey to keep the dinner ready in 30 minutes.


Oh, I see...so the OP story is that the plane "took off" but he's in the approach?? And he'll be home in 30 minutes from the airport?

Lets see...30 minutes

1. Land and wait on gate assignment
2. Taxi (yielding to departing crafts)
3. Off load (after all passengers and FA's disembark)
4. FAA/Airline Post flight, Log Book, Check Out/Turn Around, Maintenance Chits
5. Leave the airport and walk to your vehicle
6. Drive home

You're talking well over 30 minutes...

Gee whiz guys..I know for a fact that NONE of you who speak of being pilots, really are pilots. I've been through this sort of crap before. It amounts to some kids playing around of Microsoft Simulator and watching YouTube videos about airplanes. If we stood toe to toe I'd question you all to your knees so you would beg me to stop answering questions you can't answer related to flying. There should be an age limit verification on this site.



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