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Flying

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark – Enjoying Nightime Flying

Instrument panel lights

The most important interior lights are those that illuminate the instrument panel.

These lights are so important for real world pilots that their instrument panels must have at least two light sources, usually an overhead light as well as smaller lights within the instrument casings.

To view the instrument panel during a nighttime flight, look for the NAV light toggle switch.

Move it up into the ON position. As you’ll see, when the NAV light switch is on, the instrument panel is reddish in color.

The reason for this is that your eyes work more effectively at night under red lights without losing their dark adaptation.

This real world visual effect is carried over into the reddish color of the instrument panel in Flight Sim.

Exterior aircraft lighting Most aircraft use two types of exterior lighting – navigation lights and anti-collision lights. We’ll first talk about the navigation lights since they are the most noticeable lights on your aircraft.

Navigation lights

The navigation lights include a red light on the left (port) wingtip, a green light on the right (starboard) wingtip and a white light is on the tail. (See image below for an example.)

These three lights are the most noticeable lights on the exterior of your aircraft and alert other pilots to both the location and flying direction of your aircraft.

To turn on the navigation lights, move the NAV lights switch up to the ON position.

As mentioned above, if you know the locations and colors of the navigation lights of another aircraft, you can determine the direction that aircraft is flying by looking for those lights. (See the diagram on the next page for more information.)

Anti-collision light Another light located on the tail of your aircraft is a red rotating beacon anti-collision light.

A good realworld habit to follow is turning on the anti-collision beacon whenever your aircraft engine is operating. Realworld pilots do this to warn anyone nearby to the danger of moving propeller blades or jet engine intakes.

To turn on the anti-collision light, move the BCN switch up to the ON position. Strobe lights One additional set of anti-collision lighting seen on many current aircraft today are white strobe lights located on each wingtip.

To turn on the strobe lights, move the STROBE switch up to the ON position.

Taxi and Landing lights

You also need t o spot potential obstructions while taxing at airports and to move safely on the taxiway.

Therefore, your aircraft should have a taxi light located either on the nose wheel strut/front empennage or on the port wing structure. To turn on the taxi light, move the TAXI switch up to the ON position.

The landing light is located either near the taxi light or is part of the taxi light. Pilots use the landing light to illuminate the runway during landing. To turn on the landing light, move the LAND switch up to the ON position.

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