91.209 Aircraft Lights

bozz66

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At my company, we're having a debate about when anticollision lights should be operating. One of my pilots is interpreting the regulation as saying that at all times the anticollision lights should be operating. I am interpreting it as saying at night only. I can see his point, considering paragraph (b) of 91.209 seems to state that it is at all times. But paragraph (a) says from sunset to sunrise. I called AOPA and received an answer that it was "night" only. I was wondering what your thoughts were. Thanks!

Mark
 

Andy Neill

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No person may:
(a) During the period from sunset to sunrise (or, in Alaska, during the period a prominent unlighted object cannot be seen from a distance of 3 statute miles or the sun is more than 6 degrees below the horizon)--
(1) Operate an aircraft unless it has lighted position lights;
(2) Park or move an aircraft....
(3) Anchor an aircraft unless the aircraft...--
(b) Operate an aircraft that is equipped with an anticollision light system, unless it has lighted anticollision lights. However, the anticollision lights need not be lighted when the pilot-in-command determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to turn the lights off.

Sub a simply talks about when to operate position and anchor lights. Sub b talks about the anti-collission light requirements. Seems clear to me that the anti-collision light must be on if so equipped. The only out is not operating it when it might prove a hazard such as when IMC.
 

bozz66

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Thanks Andy, that's the way I'm seeing it now. I was just reading from sunset to sunrise and applying it to (b) as well. Can't wait for my pilot to gloat at me for being right, lol.
 

MauleSkinner

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The confusion probably comes in if you read 91.209 and 91.205 separately...you only need to operate anticollision lights at night per 91.205, but at all times if equipped per 91.209.

IIRC, anticollision lights at all times was added to 91.209 in the 1996 revision...that's when I started having battery problems in my Maule.:rolleyes:

Fly safe!

David
 

midlifeflyer

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The confusion probably comes in if you read 91.209 and 91.205 separately...you only need to operate anticollision lights at night per 91.205, but at all times if equipped per 91.209.
The confusion probably comes in from the common use of the TOMATO FLAMES acronym during training - it results in students thinking that the answer to all requires equipment questions can be found there.

You can test this: if you give a checkout or flight review ask whether the pilot is allowed to fly the airplane without an operating stall warning (or some other relatively innocuous piece of required equipment). There will be a much higher incidence of folks who learned the acronym getting it wrong.
 

pilotyip

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not required

read b, looks like you only have to operate the AC light if you have one. If you don't have one you can fly without one.
 
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