Interior and Exterior Lights of an Aircraft

Aircraft lighting systems, at first glance, seem like the most banal part of an aircraft. However, both the interior and exterior lights are actually very important. Without them, things like landing at night, inspection of icing conditions, safety from midair collision, and pilot and crew operations can be very difficult.

Exterior lights include position, anti-collision, landing and taxi, and wing inspection lights. Position lights or navigation lights, are the red, green, and white lights mounted on the wing tips that make it easy for other aircraft and air traffic control on the runway to know where the aircraft in question is and what direction it is going. Anti-collision light systems consist of one or more lights that rotate and are installed on the top of the fuselage or tail such that, while the light does not affect crewmembers or detract from the position lights, other aircraft can easily see them and avoid them whether in midair on the runway. Strobe lights are a common type of anti-collision light usually mounted at the wingtips to further increase the aircraft’s visibility to others. Landing and taxi lights are especially important at night when they can illuminate the runway. They’re very bright lights located at the front of the plane and angled slightly downward so that pilots can safely drive to the gate or runway, or land and takeoff. Wing inspection lights are on the leading edge of the wings and make it easy to see the general condition of the wings during flight. They’re especially useful when icing is likely.

Interior lights are generally used to illuminate the cabin. Commercial airliners generally have lighting systems for the main cabin, an independent lighting system so that passengers can read with the lights off, and emergency lights on the floor to aid passengers off the aircraft. Other interior lights include those in the galley and cockpit, increasing visibility for the crew and pilots.

Because lighting systems are so important, there should be regular maintenance and inspection of the lighting systems. This includes checking the condition and security of all wiring, connections, terminals, fuses, and switches.

At Paragon Purchasing, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we’re a leading supplier of aviation and aircraft parts. From aircraft engines to aircraft lighting systems, new or obsolete and hard-to-find, we have it all. Visit us at to get started on a quote.


November 20, 2023

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