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What Type Of Lighting Is Used in an Aircraft Flight Deck?

Aircraft lighting is a crucial aspect of flight safety, ensuring that pilots and passengers have the ability to see their surroundings to safely move around a cabin, interact with controls, and more. Aircraft cockpit lighting and panel lighting solutions in particular serve an extremely important role, providing pilots visibility to efficiently operate and monitor all aircraft instruments, switches, breakers, and more. In this blog, we will discuss the main aspects of aircraft cockpit lighting, allowing you to better understand how pilots maintain safety and control during low visibility conditions and night operations.

Within the cockpit of an aircraft, the four primary types of aircraft panel lighting include instrument face lighting, post lighting, flood lighting, and back lighting. Instrument face lighting is one of the most prominent types, often consisting of lights that are placed between the face of the instrument and the panel that they are installed in. These “light wedges” are a common type of face lighting, though other forms include the lighting of conventional steam gauge instruments and internally lit instruments.

To further increase visibility of instruments and the flight deck panel, post lighting may be used. As a non-intrusive option, such types may come in the form of small lights that are placed within raised posts. To control the direction of the emitting light, hoods are fitted over the post to direct rays across the panel. Limited by the hood, post lighting is typically only effective at a range of three to four inches. While not the most beneficial, post lights are quite flexible as they may be quickly adjusted with the use of handheld tools so that visibility may be provided for panels, switches, and various other controls.

Flood lighting is considered to be a type of panel lighting, though it is specifically designed to cover a larger amount of area as compared to other variations. Placed in the aircraft glare shield, the light emitted from flood lighting is directed across the instrument panel. While this can greatly increase a pilot’s visibility of instruments and controls, it can also affect the night vision of the pilot which may reduce safety. In order to prevent unsafe conditions with the inability to see out the windshield, pilots will often utilize the dimmer feature of flood lighting to balance instrument readability while maintaining visibility of the aircraft exterior. In general, using a red flood light instead of a standard white light can reduce night vision loss while maintaining instrument visibility.

Panel backlighting and edge lighting is the final type that is quite useful though is regularly the most expensive variation. With such lighting solutions, a light is placed within the edge of a panel or behind it, and light may be directed through a translucent panel surface. The panels that are internally lit are known as electroluminescent panels, and they can allow for text to glow for an ease of readability. Edge lighting is similar, allowing for light to come out of the unpainted edges of controls for increased illumination.

As there are many options for aircraft lighting, pilots should choose solutions based on what will best help them safely manage their aircraft during low visibility conditions. At Aviation Sourcing Solutions, we can help you secure competitive pricing on over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. As leading suppliers of aircraft components and aviation lighting solutions, we invite you to take the time to explore our expansive catalog of parts to find everything you need. With our representatives readily available for customers 24/7x365, we can also rapidly provide quotes for your comparisons and assist you through the purchasing process with person-to-person communication every step of the way. Get started today and see why customers choose to rely on Aviation Sourcing Solutions for all their operational needs.


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