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Formation Lights For Fighter Aircraft

Report Number: WADC TR 55-124
Author: Baker, Charles A.
Corporate Author: Wright Air Development Center
Laboratory: Aero Medical Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1955-03
Pages: 21
PB Number: PB130355
AD Number: AD0061751

An important consideration in the design of formation reference lighting on fighter aircraft is that the wing pilot should be provided with unambiguous information about the attitude and distance of the lead aircraft. The present formation lighting system used on fighter aircraft is inadequate in this respect, and, at least partially as a result of this, pilots frequently experience disorientation and confusion during night formation flight. The past research on formation lighting is reviewed and recommendations are made for modifications of the present formation lighting systems. These modifications utilize the conventional navigational lighting system components. The recommended modifications include: (1) redesign of the wing-tip navigation lights so that they provide suitable reference lighting for wing aircraft, (2) installation of a linear light on the fuselage near the wing root, and (3) the use of a single rotary detent control knob which provides for three brightnesses of formation lights, navigation lighting for cruise and join-up, and an off position.

Hunt Library, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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