Why do aircrafts have lights?
How many of you have noticed that the aircraft’s have several lights mounted on the body externally and almost every aircraft in the world has the same set of lights in the same pattern?
Navigation lights are mounted on the leading edge of each wingtip. The left wingtip has a red light mounted and the right wingtip has a green light mounted. The tail has a white navigation light.
The purpose of these navigation lights are to alert the pilots of other aircraft’s, about the direction in which the aircraft is traveling.
For example if a pilot sees a green light and a white light he notices that an aircraft is traveling from left to right in front of him.If he sees a red light and a white light he notices that an aircraft is traveling from right to left in front of him. If he sees a green light and a red light he notices that an aircraft is approaching towards him. If he sees a white light he notices that an aircraft is going in the same direction as him.
Image Source – AeroGuard Flight Training Center
Rotating Red Beam Lights
These lights are located on the upper and lower parts of the fuselage.Purpose of these lights are to warn the ground crew and other aircraft’s that the engines are about to start.So the ground crew would know its not safe to remain close to the aircraft at this time.
Taxi Lights and Landing Lights
Both of these lights serve somewhat similar purposes.
This light is located near the landing gear of most planes (on the landing gear struts). This is useful to improve pilots visibility when the plane is moving on the ground for purposes like taxing and takeoff (somewhat similar to the purpose of a vehicles headlamps).
These lights are useful to improve the visibility during the landing approach.In some poorly lit airports these lights are used to illuminate the runway also. These lights are located on the wings closer to the fuselage.
White Strobe Lights
These lights are fitted at the wing tips behind the navigation lights. These lights are used to attract attention during flight. These flashy white lights also signal that an aircraft is approaching an active runway.You may have seen these lights from ground when an aircraft is flying. These are considered the brightest lights on an aircraft exterior.