How to Use Pilot Controlled Lighting

Have you ever wondered if the airport and runway lights are always on the entire night?

Why waste all the electricity to keep the lights on at airports that don’t see much traffic at night? That’s why we have pilot controlled lighting! Pilots can turn on runway & taxiway lights and adjust their intensity (brightness) from the air!

This is how you can switch on the runway & taxiway lights from air or while on ground -

  1. Tune in to the appropriate UNICOM frequency (e.g. 128.3 MHz).

  2. press the PTT (Push To Talk) button 7 times within 5 seconds to turn on runway lighting.

  3. Click 3, 5 or 7 times to adjust the lighting intensity:) 3 times - Low intensity) 5 times - Medium intensity*) 7 times - High intensity

Oh, and here are some quick points to remember:

  • The pilot controlled lights are usually found at non towered airports or at towered airports when the tower is closed.
  • The lights stay on for 10-15 minutes - more than enough for you to land and taxi to the ramp. If you want more time, just repeat the series of button clicks to reset the timer.

Pro tip - Before landing (or on final approach) always reset the timer because you never know when it might go off (especially if you were not the person who switched it on last!)

Stay fit & healthy!