The Significance of Aviation Lighting

January 14, 2019

In aviation lighting, indeed communication plays an essential part both to the air traffic controller and the pilot. The communication between the air traffic controller and the pilot commonly comes in the form a light signal. When the aircraft is not equipped with radios or there is a failure in communication, aviation light signals are utilized using signal lamps.

But, what exactly are aviation lights and what is their significant importance for safety?

Aviation Light Signals: What are they?

Similar to traffic lights, aviation light signals also utilize various colours. But rather than amber, red, and green colours, such light signals make use of white, red, and green colours. On the other hand, each colour has a particular meaning and it will differ depending on whether the aircraft is on the ground or in flight.

On the ground:

  • Flashing Green. This colour means that the aircraft is empty or sanctioned to taxi.
  • Stable Green Light. A stable green on the ground means that aircraft is vacant for takeoff as well as pilots can proceed for takeoff.
  • Flashing White. It means that the pilot should return to the starting point.
  • Flashing Red. When the aviation light signals display a flashing red colour, meaning to say the aircraft should taxi empty of the airstrip in use or leave the runway.
  • Steady Red. This means that the aircraft should immediately stop and hold its position.
  • Alternating Green/Red. In the United States and other countries, an alternating green/red aviation signal light means a very crucial warning to pilots to exercise dangerous caution.


In the Air or In Flight:

  • Alternating Green/Red. Similar when on the ground, alternating green/red light signal means that the pilot should exercise extra caution.
  • Steady Red. Usually, a red light signal indicates a stop command. However, an aircraft in flight is unmanageable to stop, so a red light signal for aircraft in flight basically means the aircraft should keep on circling and offer a way to others.
  • Steady Green. This light signal means that aircraft is empty to land.
  • Flashing Red. A flashing red color indicates a danger. Pilots shouldn’t land and the airport is not safe.
  • Flashing Green. This means that the aircraft must return for landing.


What is the Significant Importance of Aviation Light Signals for Safety?

Aviation signal lights are considered important elements to the safety of pilots and their cargo as well as passengers.

Aviation light signals offer visual guidance for aircraft landing which is very crucial for the safety of pilots, passengers, and even cargos. Moreover, at night, such light signals are easy to see allowing the pilot to land safely.

In addition, the light signals can be also utilized in order to control the movement of various airport service vehicles which may possibly move about the airport’s surface, and prove to be a necessity in instances of communication / radio failure.


Nowadays, light signals are actually infrequently used by aircraft pilots due to the existence of radio intended for communication. On the other hand, radios aren’t always consistent and they tend to stop working. In this kind of scenario, aviation light signals always come in useful. As you can see, such light signals are very important most especially in ensuring safety and preventing accidents from happening.

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