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  • Landing light below 10,000 feet, altitude loss.

    I know airliners have the rule where you have to have your landing light on when flying below 10,000 feet, but where does that rule start? Is it based on aircraft weight (Aircraft over xxxxxx lbs must do it?) or aircraft speed or something like that?

    I've also wondered, if a descent is made very very fast (such as a dive or spin) and a lot of altitude is lost in a short amount of time, could this actually damage the ears? Obviously it would have to be a very very significant change in altitude and it would have to happen insanely fast, but is it possible?


  • #2
    Originally posted by JordanD
    I know airliners have the rule where you have to have your landing light on when flying below 10,000 feet, but where does that rule start? Is it based on aircraft weight (Aircraft over xxxxxx lbs must do it?) or aircraft speed or something like that?

    I've also wondered, if a descent is made very very fast (such as a dive or spin) and a lot of altitude is lost in a short amount of time, could this actually damage the ears? Obviously it would have to be a very very significant change in altitude and it would have to happen insanely fast, but is it possible?
    I dont completely understand your first question. 10,000ft is the same no matter what your weight is.

    As for #2, unless you are sick, your ears should be fine. on the other side of your eardum there is what is called a eustacian tube. That connects to somewhere behind your nose. The purpose of this is to allow air pressure to even out on both sides of your eardum.

    In the altitude chamber I did a rapid decompression from 8,000ft to 25,000 ft and my ears were just fine.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that airliners are pressurized. The usual pressure altitude for most aircraft is 8,000ft, so there shouldn't be much difference felt inside the cabin until you get lower.

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    • #3
      Aircraft weight has nothing to do with whether an airplane has to hit the lights below 10,000.

      The rules that an airliner must be operated under are spelled out in the Pilot Operating Handbook, and Flight Ops Manual. If the airline has it in the books that you have to turn on the lights at 12,000, that's where that particular airline has to turn them on.

      My airline says landing lights on below 10k, unless the cruise altitude it lower than that.
      Bite me Airways.....

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      • #4
        And since we're very rarely above 10,000ft, we put ours on within 5 miles of an airport. I'll leave mine on if I'm in a busy practice area too, especially if I'm in a plane that doesn't have recognition lights (much like a landing light, but on each wing tip). Those practice areas can be a zoo sometimes...wait, make that most of the time.

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        • #5
          I always use my landing light when doing maneuvers, or if I see traffic in the vacinity. I usually turn them on before I enter the pattern .

          I think what Jordan was asking was, what signifies lights on below 10,000ft in terms of aircraft... a certain weight (i.e. 12,500gw +) and not a 172 lol.
          Ryan Davis
          Admin, FlyerGuide.Net
          www.flyerguide.net

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          • #6
            Ryan's right. For example airliners always use their landing lights below 10k, but a 152 doesn't (then it would keep it's landing light on from the moment it got onto the runway ). Why is it that it is required of airliners but not most smaller GA planes (I'm thinking bizjets use the same landing light rule as the airliners).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JordanD
              Ryan's right. For example airliners always use their landing lights below 10k, but a 152 doesn't (then it would keep it's landing light on from the moment it got onto the runway ). Why is it that it is required of airliners but not most smaller GA planes (I'm thinking bizjets use the same landing light rule as the airliners).
              I think you hit it right on the head, if smaller aircraft were to turn on the landing light below 10,000ft, it would always be on. Airliners are usually below 10,000ft only when departing or arriving the airport environment. Because there are a whole bunch of planes in that area, all going pretty damn fast they turn on the lights. HOpe this helps.

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              • #8
                It does. I know in flying the 172 i've been taught to turn on the landing light when entering the runway and turn it off at 1,000 AGL (i think). But at times I've forgotten to even turn it on (hey its not on a checklist cut me a break )
                and it didn't seem to be any big deal so I assumed it wasn't required of us. Thanks for the replies.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JordanD
                  It does. I know in flying the 172 i've been taught to turn on the landing light when entering the runway and turn it off at 1,000 AGL (i think). But at times I've forgotten to even turn it on (hey its not on a checklist cut me a break )
                  and it didn't seem to be any big deal so I assumed it wasn't required of us. Thanks for the replies.
                  no biggie, its all by persona preference (either the pilot, school, employer, etc). It really is a good tool to help be seen in a busy environment.

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                  • #10
                    With regards the pressurisation, yes it is possible to hurt your ears, I did last winter and it was exceptionally painful, especially when my torn sinus tissue became infected. Did not fly for a couple of months.

                    Landing lights, well most have two positions Landing and Taxi, landing being a bit brighter, my airline generally uses the taxi light below 10000 and we often switch on the landing when clearance has been given.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thecloudbuster
                      With regards the pressurisation, yes it is possible to hurt your ears, I did last winter and it was exceptionally painful, especially when my torn sinus tissue became infected. Did not fly for a couple of months.
                      care to explain what happened? Did you have sinus problems beforehand or did something with the pressurization not work as planned?

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                      • #12
                        We do not have this 10,000ft rule. We turn our landing lights on whenever climbing and descending, no matter what altitude. When we land at night or takeoff at night we will turn on all the forward lights as well. After takeoff we will switch off all but the landing lights around the time of the after takeoff checklist. On landing we normally turn on all the lights at around 1500ft or so. No hard and fast rule for that one.
                        Have a look at my photos, including Kai Tak crazy landings!http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=460

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the insight Colin.

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                          • #14
                            Actuallly I've heard about the 10000ft rule too. I'm not a pilot in real life (not yet ) but when I play FS I:

                            On the ground (before take off):

                            - turn on taxi lights when taxiing
                            - runway turning lights when holding short
                            - landing lights when given clearance for take off and/or entering the runway

                            During climb:

                            - turn off taxi lights when gear up
                            - turn off runway turning lights when on 5000ft.
                            - turn off landing lights when on 10000ft.

                            During cruise:

                            - turn on landing lights when I see traffic or go into the clouds no matter what altitude I'm at.

                            During descend:

                            - turn on landing lights on 10000ft. or when I go into the clouds (if higher than 10000ft.)
                            - turn on runway turning lights when on 2500ft.
                            - turn on taxi lights when gear down

                            On the ground (after landing):

                            - turn off landing lights after clearing the runway
                            - turn off runway turning lights when on taxiway
                            - taxi light on until arriving at the gate.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JordanD
                              It does. I know in flying the 172 i've been taught to turn on the landing light when entering the runway and turn it off at 1,000 AGL (i think). But at times I've forgotten to even turn it on (hey its not on a checklist cut me a break )
                              and it didn't seem to be any big deal so I assumed it wasn't required of us. Thanks for the replies.
                              Hi Jordan,

                              If you keep forgetting to turn on your landing lights on at night, then you have a problem. Flying in the day doesn't require the landing lights on but it does help improve visibility to other traffic and the air traffic controllers. Therefore, when I fly during the day, I don't bother turning them on UNLESS if the visibility is 7sm or less, but at night, unless if I do some practice approaches, I'll turn them on on final and once I get airborne, I turn them back off, it's a habit that our military flying club does, since the real fighter pilots does the same. But, it's real fun doing approaches and landings without landing lights at night...

                              Kevin

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