All You Need to Know About Landing Lights

Landing lights have been modernized in design to reduce energy consumption and overall costs. Typically used during takeoff and landing, pilots are expected to use these lights to make their aircraft more noticeable during routine procedures and while in crowded airspaces. However, in emergency situations where other means of communication have failed, landing lights can also be used to communicate with air traffic controllers and on-ground personnel. To better understand the purpose of landing lights, this blog will briefly highlight their uses, and how they help keep aircraft safe when in flight.

Imperative for all aircraft, whether grounded or in flight, vehicles must be equipped with operable landing lights. These lights should be very luminescent and visible during the day/night so that present obstacles and terrain can be observed by pilots from a considerable distance. Additionally, landing lights allow large aircraft to be easily seen from a distance upwards of 100 miles away by other aircraft.

When designing landing lights, there are numerous aspects that must be considered, those of which include: reliability, intensity, power consumption, and weight. Ideally, aircraft landing lights should have long lives, be high in intensity, consume minimum power, and not add unnecessary weight to the plane.

Typically extinguished when flying at cruising altitudes or during unfavorable atmospheric conditions with fog or other such phenomena present, landing lights should not be used during instances where they may produce glare and be reflected back at the pilot.

Moreover, when ground illumination is no longer needed, certain jets are equipped with landing lights that operate in a flashing mode to make themselves more visible to other airplanes when airborne. On the other hand, some commercial aircraft are required to switch on their landing lights when changing flight levels.

Legal Considerations for Landing Lights

In many jurisdictions, it is mandatory that aircraft only use government-certified landing lights that have been pre-approved for implementation. In addition, depending on local regulations, landing light usage may vary, be mandatory, or even forbidden.

For many aircraft in the United States, the use of landing lights has not been mandated. However, their usage is highly recommended and encouraged for take-off, landing, and during flight operations below 10,000 feet or within 19 km of an airport (FAA AIM 4-3-23). Additionally, CFR 14 and FAR Part 91.205 require all commercial flights to use landing lights during low-light and night operations. However, landing lights should not be used when the plane is near an airport gate or taxiing aircraft as it can cause flash blindness to other pilots and ground crew.


Though using landing lights is not compulsory, their employment is highly recommended as they encourage visibility of both an oncoming vehicle and an aircraft’s surroundings. When maintenance demands replacement of faulty or failing items, look no further than NSN Components for all of your high-intensity, durable, and top-quality landing light needs. Alongside numerous types of lighting system, we at NSN Components offer an expansive inventory of over 2 billion premium aerospace, defense, industrial, and electronic parts to remedy any number of your operational requirements. To receive a customized quote for your comparisons on any item(s) of interest, simply fill out an Instant RFQ form as provided throughout our website, and a dedicated market representative will respond to you in 15 minutes or less. With around-the-clock customer service availability, call or email us at your earliest convenience for hands-on support.


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