The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented regulations concerning warning light requirements for nighttime flying. Nighttime flying presents safety hazards because structures can present optical illusions when seen at varying altitudes.
Plane Light Position
For nighttime flying, FAA regulations mandate an anti-collision lighting system consisting of flashing or rotating lights placed on the plane’s left and right wingtips. The lighting system aims to provide other pilots with information concerning a plane’s flight position.
FAA regulations mandate that anti-collision lights meet requirements for color and intensity. Anti-collision lights must be industry standard red or white and also meet light intensity specifications.
Most airports use a rotating beacon light for nighttime identification. A civilian land airport typically uses an alternating white and green beacon light. Military airports also use an alternating white and green beacon light distinguishable by its quick white flash.
Preflight Light Check
FAA regulations mandate a preflight light check of all airplane lights. If a check indicates a loose light connection, the light must be inspected before departure. Also before departure, pilots must note prominently lighted points along the flight path.