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AIRPLANE LIGHTS: WHAT EACH LIGHT DOES (RED/GREEN, STROBE, BEACON)

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You may have noticed the seemingly random flashing and solid lights on an aircraft and wondered what they are supposed to mean. This article will explain all the different lights you may encounter on an airplane and their purpose.

Although every aircraft may have slightly different lights, a framework of the same types of lights exists. The types of lights fitted to an aircraft depend on the type of aircraft, operation, and even the time of day.

In general, external lights can be divided according to three different purposes:

  • To illuminate areas that the pilots need to see.
  • To make the aircraft more visible.
  • To provide illumination for various purposes.

Many of the lights fitted to an aircraft serve more than one of the purposes mentioned above. For example, the landing lights provide illumination for the pilots but also make the plane more visible.

Although many lights are legally required, a surprising amount are not, and a broken light will seldom cancel or even delay a flight because they are relatively easy to replace.

Now let’s examine the most common lights fitted to aircraft, according to the three different purposes.

Lights That Make the Aircraft More Visible

Navigation-Lights

Navigation lights (also referred to as position lights) are required for all aircraft operating at night.

Back when ships were the primary means of transportation, ship operators quickly realized that collisions were happening far too often. As a result, green, red, and white lights were added to certain positions on ships. When aircraft were invented and became more advanced, they were added to them in the same places.

The right wingtip contains the green light, with the red light located on the left wingtip. The white light is located on the aircraft’s tail and sometimes additionally on the wingtips, facing backward (aft).

These lights allow an observer to determine the position and direction of an aircraft. For example, if an airplane were flying directly towards you, you would see a green then red light (from left to right). If an aircraft were flying past you towards your left, you would only see a red light.

Pilots have jokingly created different phrases for remembering what seeing certain lights mean, such as “Green then red, turn right or you’re dead” when an aircraft is approaching head-on.

Although only a requirement for flying at night, pilots generally have these lights turned on all the time to increase visibility.

Beacon (Red Anti-Collision) Lights

Beacon lights, also known as anti-collision lights, indicate when an aircraft is in operation. They are sometimes referred to as rotating beacon lights, harking back to the days when these lights did rotate.

Beacon lights are flashing red lights located on the top and (on larger aircraft) the bottom of the airplane. They are turned on as soon as the pilots begin the process of starting the engines and are only switched off after the engines have been shut down.

Beacon lights flash in an alternating on/off fashion. Newer aircraft such as the latest Boeing and Airbus airplanes use LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lights as anti-collision lights, and their red flash (the “on” cycle) is noticeably longer than their Xenon counterparts.

If you see any aircraft on an apron, the fastest way to determine if that aircraft will start its engines (and if you need to stay away) is to look for the flashing beacon lights.

Strobe (White Anti-Collison) Lights

Strobe lights, also known as anti-collision lights, are flashing white lights located on the wingtips of an aircraft. On some planes, these lights flash in rapid bursts, while on most aircraft, they flash in a regular on/off manner.

These lights are only used during flight and on the runway, as they are too bright for use on the ground, particularly at night.

LED lights are commonly used for strobe lights, particularly on newer aircraft.

Lights That Illuminate Areas the Pilots Need to See

Taxi Lights

Quite simple and true to their name, taxi lights are used to illuminate the taxiway so that the pilots don’t have to guess where they’re going at night (this, as you can imagine, is very helpful).

These lights are typically located on the nose gear strut and the wing. They are also commonly integrated with landing lights, where landing lights on a dimmer setting are used as taxi lights.

Landing Lights

Landing-Lights

Landing lights are the most powerful and provide the most significant illumination to the flight crew. You will typically find landing lights mounted on the wing, nose, or beneath the fuselage of an aircraft. They are positioned downward to illuminate the runway and, as mentioned earlier, are sometimes used as taxi lights when dimmed.

In addition to providing illumination for the crew, landing lights also improve the aircraft’s visibility. On newer aircraft, supplementary systems such as the Alternating Landing Light System (ALLS) pulse the left and right landing lights in alternating fashion, further increasing visibility. These systems can even be found on newer General Aviation (GA) aircraft such as the Cessna 172, with a “recognition light” setting activating the ALLS.

Interestingly, on the newer GA Cessna aircraft, one LED landing light on each wing serves as the landing, taxi, and ALLS enabled recognition lights, controlled by one switch with two modes – landing and taxi/recognition. Suppose the switch is set to taxi, and the aircraft is flying above 40 knots; In that case, the lights automatically change from dim taxi lights (half of the total amount of LEDs) to full alternating pulsing landing lights, known as recognition lights.

Runway Turnoff Lights

Runway turnoff lights share many similarities with landing lights but are not as bright and are positioned on either side of the aircraft’s nose to illuminate the exits of a runway. Typically found on the nose strut, these lights also assist the pilots during tight turns, as the primary taxi lights generally only illuminate the area in front of the aircraft.

Wing Inspection Lights

Wing inspection lights are mounted on the aircraft fuselage and point backward toward the wing. They are used to aid ground and flight crew in detecting ice formation on the wing.

Various Purpose Lighting

Searchlights

Some military and law enforcement aircraft are equipped with searchlights that are used to illuminate objects on the ground.

Logo Lights

logo-lights

Logo lights are lights mounted on the horizontal stabilizer of an aircraft and point upward toward the vertical stabilizer, illuminating the airline’s logo. On older aircraft, they are sometimes located on the wingtips, pointing backward.

These lights are not a legal requirement and were initially introduced as a marketing topic for aircraft manufacturers but have since proved useful.

These lights aid others in visually identifying an aircraft at night, increasing aircraft visibility in the air.

Formation Lights

Some military aircraft have dedicated lights positioned on the plane to aid pilots in maintaining the correct position when flying in formation. They are often only visible in the infrared spectrum, which is visible only when using night vision equipment, allowing the aircraft to keep their lights off for operational reasons.

Conclusion

You now have a unique understanding of the reasoning behind the flurry of flashing, different colored, and bright lights located on an airplane. It turns out it’s more than just a Christmas tree simulator!

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THIS IS HOW SMART THE ANT IS!

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This is how smart the ant is. An astonishing finding has emerged from the world of science: ants, in preparation for winter, cleverly break down the grains and seeds they gather into halves before storing them in their nests.

This ingenious strategy prevents the seeds from sprouting, even under ideal germination conditions like rain. However, what truly amazed scientists was the discovery that ants split coriander seeds into four parts, not just two.

Further investigation revealed why: while a coriander seed can still sprout when halved, it loses this ability when quartered. This raises a fascinating question: how do these minuscule creatures possess such intricate knowledge? This is how smart the ant is.

It’s a humbling reminder that despite human advancements, there’s still so much to learn from the natural world around us.

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SPECIAL DOGS THAT FIGHT IN ISRAEL’S WAR IN GAZA

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Special dogs fight in Israel’s war in Gaza. The IDF’s four-legged fighting force that’s being deployed in some of Gaza’s most dangerous territory to hunt down Hamas – has already suffered fatalities fighting terrorists

Israel has one of the most sophisticated armies in the world, with an arsenal of modern weapons, thousands of armed vehicles and hundreds of thousands of highly trained soldiers.

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But among the most valued units in its ranks is a four-legged fighting force which has already helped to eliminate Hamas terrorists, and is being deployed as part of the Israeli Defence Forces’ intense ground offensive in Gaza.

The dogs, who are part of the Oketz unit, each have specific jobs, with some trained to sniff out explosives, some to locate hidden threats and tunnel entrances, and others to track down and maul terrorists.

The highly-trained Belgian Malinois have been utilised by Israel’s army for years – and now their skills are being deployed on the streets of Gaza and in Hama’s subterranean tunnels.

As the IDF continues to forge a path through the heart of Gaza City in their operation to root out Hamas, MailOnline takes a look at the crack canine division which stands out as one of the most versatile and feared units on the battlefield.

Israel's Defence Forces have a crack canine unit called Oketz, meaning 'Sting' in Hebrew
Israel’s Defence Forces have a crack canine unit called Oketz, meaning ‘Sting’ in Hebrew
The dog unit operates alongside other groups of fighters. 'Dogs can be a man's best friend ¿ and they can be a terrorist's worst enemy,' a journalist who joined the unit for a day said
The dog unit operates alongside other groups of fighters. ‘Dogs can be a man’s best friend ¿ and they can be a terrorist’s worst enemy,’ a journalist who joined the unit for a day said
Raised and trained by the unit from pups, only the toughest canine recruits make it through to become specialised fighting dogs
Raised and trained by the unit from pups, only the toughest canine recruits make it through to become specialised fighting dogs

October 7

As Hamas terrorists launched their surprise invasion of southern Israel on October 7, some military dog handlers only realised they were under attack when they were awoken by air raid sirens.

As news came through that Hamas had infiltrated the country, the unit scrambled dogs and handlers who were still in training to the south, where kibbutzim were under heavy bombardment and being stormed by Hamas fighters.

Tragically, one brave dog was killed by Hamas as he saved the lives of several commandoes, alerting them to the terrorists’ hiding place on October 7.

Nero, one of the Oketz dogs which had joined Naval Commando 13 to hunt down Hamas infiltrators, was killed while tracking down the terrorists. 

‘A dog who was with one of our men went in to comb a house,’ a commander, known only as Lieutenant Colonel A, told Israel Hayom. 

‘He revealed the location of two terrorists, took a burst of gunfire from them, and was killed. 

‘That’s how the men in the force realized that there were terrorists in the house, and human lives were saved. 

An Israeli army soldier part of a K-9 unit takes part in a drill at an army urban warfare training facility simulating Gaza City back in January
An Israeli army soldier part of a K-9 unit takes part in a drill at an army urban warfare training facility simulating Gaza City back in January

‘The troops fired at the terrorists and brought in engineering machinery that brought the house down on them. 

‘Lots of commanders from Naval Commando 13 contacted me and told me that the dog had saved their lives.’

Like their human comrades, any dog in the unit killed in the line of duty is entitled to a full military funeral.

In another case, Oketz forces joined up with the Duvdevan commando unit to scour open territory in the Be’ersheva area.

It managed to locate a terrorist just a few dozen metres ahead of its unit who had set up an ambush for the force in a grove of bushes. 

The dog bit the terrorist, the commander said, allowing the Duvdevan force to arrest him. 

Following the arrest, he added, it turned out that he was a terrorist from Hamas’s underground system, and in his interrogation, he gave very important information for the continuation of the fighting.’ 

Beneath Gaza sprawls a 300 mile-long network of tunnels that criss-cross deep underground in all directions (file image)
Beneath Gaza sprawls a 300-mile-long network of tunnels that criss-cross deep underground in all directions (file image)

Tunnel fighting

A 300-mile-long network of tunnels sprawls beneath Gaza, forming an entire subterranean world that is so vast it has been described as Hamas’s ‘metro system’. 

Concealed beneath hospitals, mosques, schools and homes, the network offers cover to Hamas soldiers and their cache of rockets.

Thought to be heavily booby-trapped, the concrete-enforced passages are narrow and complex in some areas, making them one of the most deadly terrains for soldiers to enter.

In some areas, troops are unable to stand up or see in front of themselves in the dark lairs.

In a video shared by IDF spokesman Ofir Gendelman, one of the unit's canines can be seen racing through a dark tunnel network much like those under Gaza
In a video shared by IDF spokesman Ofir Gendelman, one of the unit’s canines can be seen racing through a dark tunnel network much like those under Gaza

This means that dogs – which are guided by their noses and agile enough to quickly navigate complicated networks – are a useful weapon. 

A bodycam attached to the animal follows it through the dimly lit passages as it hunts down its prey. 

The animal locates a man dressed as a Hamas terrorist, who it attacks and neutralises as the enemy target screams in terror, showing how useful the animals can be in supporting their human counterparts in Gaza.

The dogs are highly-trained before deployment, including on agility courses and in simulated battlegrounds
The dogs are highly trained before deployment, including on agility courses and in simulated battlegrounds

Origins of Oketz 

The name ‘Oketz,’ meaning ‘Sting’ in Hebrew, aptly describes the unit’s swift and decisive actions, using highly-trained dogs to locate, track down and clear Hamas’ clandestine tunnel network, rounding up weapons caches and bomb-making facilities in the process. 

Established in 1974 on the Sirkin Base in central Israel close to the West Bank, the unit has evolved into a critical component of the IDF, contributing to counter-terrorism, search and rescue, and various specialised missions over the years.

The origins of Oketz can be traced back to the tumultuous period of the early 1970s when Israel faced a wave of terrorist attacks. 

In response to the evolving security challenges, Oketz was officially formed with just 11 soldiers. 

During the 1970s and 1980s, the unit operated in utmost secrecy, participating in numerous covert missions. It wasn’t until 1988, following a successful operation in Lebanon, that Oketz was revealed to the public. 

The unit now operates across all regions of Israel, adapting to diverse terrains and scenarios, with mission objectives that include counter-terrorism, search and rescue, as well as specific tasks like locating weapons and detecting explosives.

Selection process and intense training

Joining Oketz is a voluntary choice for soldiers, and the selection process is rigorous.

To qualify for Oketz, soldiers – both men and women – must first draft into specific infantry units where they may be considered for selection. 

Women aspiring to join Oketz do so through the co-ed Caracal Battalion, undergoing joint tryouts with male counterparts. 

The IDF handpicks the best candidates through rigorous tryouts, with successful soldiers being subjected to an additional gruelling four-day selection process. 

The animals go through rigorous training to serve in the Israel Defence Forces' Oketz unit
The animals go through rigorous training to serve in the Israel Defence Forces’ Oketz unit

These tryouts serve as a crucible, identifying the most capable men and women who go on to form exceptional teams within Oketz.  

Once selected, each soldier is paired with their own service dog, and together they undergo specialised training to develop specific skills as determined by their commanding officers, whether it be attack, search and rescue, or explosive detection. 

A distinctive feature of the Oketz Unit is the deep connection between the soldier and their assigned dog. 

This relationship is cultivated from the early stages of training, and soldiers spend significant time bonding with their canine partners. 

The dogs are trained from puppies for specific roles in the crack unit. Some at this stage are deemed unsuitable, depending on their temperments
The dogs are trained from puppies for specific roles in the crack unit. Some at this stage are deemed unsuitable, depending on their temperaments

However, soldiers drafted into Oketz have to ensure that they are able to emotionally separate themselves from their four-legged partners when necessary. 

Raised and trained by the unit from pups, only the toughest canine recruits make it through to become specialised fighting dogs.

‘The initial training develops the dogs’ instincts, discipline and aggressiveness so they won’t baulk in fear,’ an anonymous trainer told the Jerusalem Post.

‘Only the best are selected at this stage. A dog that’s too apathetic, too sensitive to food or tends to chase cats, doesn’t reach the unit. It must be brave and have exceptional attributes. 

‘Its instincts are developed through biting games with rags or other objects, playing ball and lots of walks.’

Each dog’s job depends on the individual skills of each animal, he said.

‘Explosives detection dogs must be extremely disciplined and quiet; search and rescue canines need a highly developed sense of smell; and attack dogs require strength and fearlessness.’ 

As a journalist who joined the Oketz unit for exercises in 2018 observed: ‘Dogs can be a man’s best friend – and they can be a terrorist’s worst enemy.’ 

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THIS GIANT HUMMER IS BOTH DRIVABLE AND A HOUSE

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3 times bigger than Hummer H1: Inside Dubai Sheikh’s giant Hummer “X3” with well-furnished room, toilet and kitchen.

Do you know that this giant Hummer is both drivable and a house? Come inside and see.

Off-Road History Museum is a private collection of Rainbow Sheikh in UAE with more than 350 vehicles.

Inside Dubai Sheikh's Drivable Hummer H1 “X3” With Well-furnished Room, Toilet And Kitchen - autojosh
Inside Dubai Sheikh's Drivable Hummer H1 “X3” With Well-furnished Room, Toilet And Kitchen - autojosh

Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan, popularly known as the Rainbow Sheikh, owns one of the strangest and biggest custom car collections in the world, including a massive custom truck dubbed Hummer H1 “X3.”

Standing at 21.6 feet tall, 46 feet long and 19 feet wide, the drivable H1 “X3” is three times the size of a regular Hummer H1. The 2-story Hummer took over one and half years to build and and it features several amenities inside as seen in a video shared by Supercarblondie.

Inside Dubai Sheikh's Drivable Hummer H1 “X3” With Well-furnished Room, Toilet And Kitchen - autojosh
Inside Dubai Sheikh's Drivable Hummer H1 “X3” With Well-furnished Room, Toilet And Kitchen - autojosh

In the footage shared (start from 4.10 minutes mark), Supercarblondie takes us through a journey inside the well-furnished interior equipped with five-star hotel style lounge room, a bathroom with a sink and a kitchen.

Inside Dubai Sheikh's Drivable Hummer H1 “X3” With Well-furnished Room, Toilet And Kitchen - autojosh
Inside Dubai Sheikh's Drivable Hummer H1 “X3” With Well-furnished Room, Toilet And Kitchen - autojosh

On the outside, each of the truck’s over 7-feet tall tyre cost $25,000 and each of its massive doors took months to make. Beneath the X3 is a stairs which allows access to the interior.

Powering this vehicle are four diesel engines provided by the military, which developes 1,000-horsepower and allows a top-speed of around 32 kilometers per hour (about 20 mph).

Dubai Sheikh's Giant Hummer H1 “X3” Is Three Times Bigger Than A Regular Hummer H1 - autojosh
Dubai Sheikh's Giant Hummer H1 “X3” Is Three Times Bigger Than A Regular Hummer H1 - autojosh

The Hummer H1 “X3” along with an equally big ‘Bigfoot RAM 2500 are currently on display at the Off-Road History Museum, a private collection of Rainbow Sheikh in UAE with more than 350 vehicles.

Al Nahyan, a member of the United Arab Emirates royal family with a net worth of approximately $20 billion, is one of the richest people in the United Arab Emirates. He reportedly has four separate car museums in the UAE. He owns over 3,000 vehicles that are kept in a giant pyramid in the middle of the desert.

Having gone on a trip through this giant, you can thus now see why this giant Hummer is both drivable and a home.

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