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Nick Collett 2011

PMDG 737NGX GroundWork AIRCRAFT LIGHTING

Aircraft Lighting
Lesson Introduction
This lesson will cover the following topics:
o A very brief overview of the lighting systems on the 737NG,
o Exterior lighting,
o Flight deck lighting,
o The no-smoking and seatbelt signs.

Aircraft Lighting Overview


Exterior lights are used to illuminate taxiways and runways, and to enhance visibility for
other aircraft and controllers.
o Controls for the exterior lights are located on the forward overhead panel.
Flight deck lighting is used to illuminate the various panels, controls and indications in the
cockpit.
o Controls for the flight deck lighting are scattered throughout the flight deck.
We will also briefly discuss the no-smoking and seatbelt signs.

Exterior Lighting
Under the exterior lighting banner we will be discussing the following sets of exterior
lights:
o Landing lights; both retractable and fixed,
o Runway turnoff lights,
o Taxi light,
o Logo lights,
o Position and Strobe lights,
o Anti-collision lights,
o Wing lights,
o Wheel well lights.
We will be omitting the emergency exit and slide lights used in an evacuation, as we cover
those in the Emergency Equipment lesson.

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Landing Lights
The landing lights are used to increase the visibility of the aircraft to other pilots, controllers
and personnel on the ground.
o They also, albeit to a fairly limited extent, illuminate the runway ahead of the
aircraft.
o They are used during takeoff, climb out, approach and landing.
There are two different types of landing lights - retractable and fixed.
The retractable landing light switches are located on the captains side of the forward
overhead panel, and the lights themselves are located just inboard of the pack ram air inlets
on the underside of the fuselage.
o Each retractable landing light switch has three positions: RETRACT, EXTEND, and ON.
o With the switch in the RETRACT position, the lights are OFF and stowed.
o With the switch in the EXTEND position, the light is extended from its stowed
position, but is still OFF.
o With the switch in the ON position, the lights are extended AND illuminated
o There is no speed restriction on the retractable landing lights, but it is common
practice not to use them above 250 knots to reduce stress on the hinges.
The fixed landing light switches are located right next to the retractable landing light
switches, and the lights themselves are located at each wing root and shine at a fixed angle.
o The fixed landing light switches have only two positions - OFF and ON.
o There is a gang bar used to turn on and extend all the landing lights at the same
time.
The bar simply forces all of the switches to the ON position, and spring loads
aft again once released.

Runway Turnoff Lights


The runway turnoff lights are used to illuminate taxiway turnoffs in low light conditions.
o They shine forward and to the sides of the aircraft.
The runway turnoff light switches are located on the captains side of the forward overhead
panel beside the landing light switches, and the lights themselves are located beside the
fixed landing lights in the wing roots.
o There are two switches; for the left and right lights respectively.
o They are two position switches - OFF and ON.

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Taxi Light
The taxi light is used to illuminate the path ahead of the aircraft, and increase its visibility to
other aircraft, controllers and ground personnel.
The taxi light switch is located on the captains side of the forward overhead panel beside
the runway turnoff light switches.
o The light itself is mounted on the nose gear leg and therefore shines wherever the
nose gear is pointed.
The switch is a two position switch - OFF and ON.
When the gear is retracted the taxi light turns off automatically.

Logo Lights
The logo lights are used to illuminate the airline logo on the tail of the aircraft.
There is a single switch on the first officers side of the forward overhead panel, and the
logo lights themselves are located on the horizontal stabilizer.
They are angled towards the vertical stabilizer to illuminate the airline logo.
The switch is simply selectable ON and OFF.

Position and Strobe Lights


The position lights are used by other aircraft to determine the orientation and direction of
your aircraft based on the colour of the light visible.
There are four position lights on the aircraft.
o A red light on the left wingtip,
o A green light on the right wingtip,
o and a white light on the trailing edge of each wingtip.
Because each light is only visible from a certain angle, another pilot can determine the
orientation and direction of your aircraft with respect to his, by interpretation of the colour
of light visible to him.
The position light switch is located on the first officers side of the forward overhead panel
and has control over seven lights on the aircraft.
o It is a three position switch - OFF, STEADY, and STROBE & STEADY.
o The STEADY position illuminates red and green position lights on the left and right
wing tips respectively, and the white position lights on each wingtip.
o With the switch in the STROBE & STEADY position the position lights remain
illuminated but are now joined by the strobe lights.
The strobe lights are used to increase the visibility of the aircraft to others, and are
extremely effective at night.
There is a white strobe light on each wing tip, and a white strobe light on the tail cone just
above the APU eductor inlet.
With the switch set OFF, neither the position nor the strobe lights will operate.

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In summary:
o With the POSITION switch in the STEADY position, only the red, green and white
position lights are illuminated.
o With the switch in the STROBE & STEADY position, the strobe lights will flash in
addition to the position lights.
This single switch therefore has control over seven individual lights on the aircraft with
the switch in the OFF position, none of these lights will be illuminated

Anti-Collision Lights
The anti-collision lights are red strobe lights mounted on the top and bottom of the
fuselage.
o They are switched on before engine start to alert ground personnel that startup is
imminent.
o They remain on the entire flight until shutdown to increase the visibility of the
aircraft.
The anti-collision lights switch is located on the first officers side of the forward overhead
panel, and the lights themselves are located on the top and bottom of the fuselage.
o It is a simple 2 position switch OFF and ON.

Wing Lights
The wing lights are used to illuminate the leading edge of each wing, and are useful to scan
for ice.
The wing lights switch is located on the first officers side of the forward overhead panel,
and the lights themselves are mounted in the sides of the fuselage, angled aft towards the
leading edge of each wing.
o The switch is a two position switch - OFF and ON.

Wheel Well Lights


The wheel well lights are used to illuminate the nose and main landing gear wheel wells.
o These lights are useful for inspection in low light conditions, and are located within
each wheel well.
o The nose gear wheel well has a single light, and the main gear wheel well has four
lights.
The wheel well lights switch on the first officers side of the forward overhead panel
controls all five of these lights.
o It is a two position switch OFF and ON.

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Flight Deck Lighting


We will be discussing the following flight deck lighting topics in this section:
o Dome lights,
o Overhead and circuit breaker panel lighting,
o Map and chart lighting,
o Main instrument panel and glareshield lighting,
o Pedestal lighting,
o Standby Magnetic compass lighting,
o Display unit brightness controls,
o Annunciator lights brightness control.

Dome Lights
The dome lights are used to provide incandescent illumination of the entire flight deck.
The switch is located on the aft overhead panel, and the two dome lights are located on the
aft flight deck wall either side of the cockpit door.
o There is actually a second bulb located in the dome light in the assembly to the right
of the door as we look aft that is part of the emergency lighting system.
o This auxiliary bulb is usually switched off, but will illuminate when the emergency
lighting system is activated.
o More on the emergency lighting system in the Emergency Equipment lesson.
The dome light switch has three positions: DIM, OFF and BRIGHT. These positions are self-
explanatory.

Overhead and Circuit Breaker Panel Lighting


Lighting controls for the overhead and circuit breaker panels are located on the forward
overhead panel.
The circuit breaker panel light switch is located in the middle of the forward overhead
panel.
o This is used to illuminate the P6 and P18 circuit breaker panels on the aft flight deck
wall.
o The P6 panel is to the left of the door as we look aft, and the P18 panel to the right.
o The P6 panel has six sub-panels (+ standby power control unit), and the P18 has
three sub-panels.
Below the circuit breaker light control is the overhead panel light control. This switch is used
to control the backlighting of the controls and indications on the forward and aft overhead
panels.
Both of these controls can be rotated to adjust the brightness of the lighting.

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Map and Chart Lighting


Map and chart lighting are available via controls on the side wall panels.
The MAP light control adjusts the brightness of the overhead map light.
The CHART light control adjusts the light directed onto the chart holder.
These light controls are present for both the captain and first officer.

Main Instrument Panel and Glareshield Lighting


Lighting controls for the main instrument panel and glareshield are located below the
inboard and outboard display units on each side of the flight deck.
The MAIN PANEL control on the captain's side adjusts the brightness of the backlighting on
the captain's main instrument panel, the center panel, and also controls the brightness of
the Mode Control Panel's LCD displays and backlighting.
The MAIN PANEL control on the first officer's side performs an identical function, but only
for the first officer main instrument panel and instrument backlighting.
The BACKGROUND control, found only on the captain's side, controls flood lighting for the
entire main instrument panel.
The AFDS FLOOD control controls the brightness of flood lighting directed at the Mode
Control Panel and the EFIS Control Panels.
Each one of these is a rheostat type control that allows lighting brightness to be tuned to
your liking.
o They are variable transformers that adjust the voltage available to the lighting
modules located just underneath the main instrument panel.

Pedestal Lighting
Similarly to the main instrument panel, flood and backlighting are available for the center
pedestal.
The PANEL control adjusts the controls and switches' backlighting from the two CDUs all the
way back to the Aft Electronics Panel.
o It also adjusts the brightness of the LCD displays on the radios and transponder.
o The display on the HGS control panel is not affected it has its own dedicated
brightness controls.
The FLOOD control adjusts flood illumination of the entire area.
o The light itself is mounted within the forward overhead panel.

Standby Magnetic Compass Lighting


The standby magnetic compass, located at the top of the center post above the glareshield,
has its own lighting controls.
o It's a three position switch, DIM, OFF, and Bright.

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Display Unit Brightness Controls


Brightness controls are available for the 6 display units on the flight deck.
The captain has control over his outboard and inboard display units, as well as the upper
and lower display units.
The inboard and lower DU controls have dual functionality.
o The outer knobs control the DU brightness, while the inner knobs control the
brightness of the weather radar and terrain displays.
Both the inboard and lower DU brightness controls have dual functionality as the Navigation
Display can be displayed on either of these two display units depending on how the display
select panel is configured.
The first officer also has DU brightness controls, but only for his own outboard and inboard
DUs.
There are brightness controls for a few other displays around the flight deck, such as the IRS
Display Unit and the two Control Display Units, but we cover those in their associated
lessons.

Annunciator Lights Brightness Control


The master lights test and dim switch is located on the center panel and is used to control
the brightness of annunciator lights in the cockpit.
It has three positions:
o Test, bright and dim.
When the switch is held to the TEST position, it illuminates the vast majority of the
annunciator lights on the flight deck.
o Each MCP display self-tests, both clocks display test patterns, and the radio and
transponder LCDs on the aft electronics panel self-test.
o The fire warning system is not tested by this switch rather by a separate switch on
the Overheat/Fire Protection Panel. More on that in the Fire Protection lesson.
The TEST position also results in a master caution recall when the switch is released, so any
system annunciator lights associated with current faults will remain illuminated on the
master caution six packs.

No-Smoking and Seatbelt Signs


The no-smoking and seatbelt sign switches are located in the middle of the forward
overhead panel.
o In our case, the NO SMOKING switch is just used as a means of 'chiming' the cabin.
The fasten seatbelt switch has three positions, OFF, AUTO and ON.
o In the AUTO position the signs will be illuminated whenever the gear or flaps are
extended, and extinguished whenever the gear and flaps are retracted.
o The ON and OFF positions are self explanatory, but we do not recommend AUTO as

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the signs will tend to switch off sooner than is preferable, and this could cause
injury.

Lesson Summary
A subject like aircraft lighting seems fairly simple at face value, but in total weve covered 30
individual switches and knobs on the flight deck that control over 20 lights on the outside of
the aircraft and countless more within.
Lets run through a summary of the lighting systems weve covered during this lesson:
o In the exterior lighting category we covered:
Landing lights, both retractable and fixed,
Runway turnoff lights,
Taxi lights,
Logo lights,
Position and Strobe lights,
Anti-collision lights,
Wing lights,
and wheel well lights.
o In the flight deck lighting category we covered:
Dome lights,
Overhead and circuit breaker panel lighting,
Map and Chart lighting,
Main panel and glareshield lighting,
Pedestal lighting,
Standby Magnetic compass lighting,
Display unit brightness controls,
and the annunciator light brightness control,
o We concluded with a brief coverage of the no smoking and fasten seatbelt signs.

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