Identification lights.. how were they used?

Discussion in 'Other Electrical Systems Tech.' started by RCB, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. RCB

    RCB New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I am unsure if this is the proper forum for this or not, so please move it to the correct forum (wasn't sure if it would be proper for the markings forum).

    I am aware of the identification lights used on several allied aircraft. How did they operate? Did they stay on when over allied ground? did they blink or were they persistent? When would they be turned on?

    I have looked for a while, but always found it to be very generically described.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Messages:
    20,140
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Washington State
    Are you talking about navigation lights, or something mission specific?

    Navigation light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Navigation lights likely would only be used over friendly territory and then only in accordance with local airspace operational requirements. The latter would be established based upon numerous parameters that may include proximity of enemy forces, need to maintain visual secrecy (e.g., plane spotting for raid counts), minimization of locating airfield position, etc. Use your imagination and likely there were constraints that were operationally applied that may have just been attributed to expediency.
     
  3. RCB

    RCB New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    #3 RCB, Jul 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
    No, what I am referring to is the Identification lights. Of all the ones I have seen, there were three set into the underside of one of the wings. I have attached a pic of them on a P-51. I always guess from their placement that it was to alert AA gunners that it was a friendly, but not really sure about that. A lot books point them out and have photos of them, but that's all they mention.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. geneh

    geneh New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Sisters, OR
    Home Page:
    Aircraft Recognition Lights – A series of colored lights (White, Red, Green and Amber), were installed on aircraft (see Figure _ TBM-3 Recognition Lights) that were used to recognize friendly aircraft at night. These lights were used in different combinations, or could be used for signaling purposes. They were limited to reliable use during daylight. The control switch-boxes were usually positioned on the right-side in fighter aircraft (see Figure _ P-61), and would be located on the aisle stand on bombers. The White recognition light would be mounted on the upper fuselage of the aircraft and was teardrop shaped and protruded slightly upward. The Red, Green and Amber recognition lights were flush mounted usually on the bottom of the fuselage or on the right wing tip.

    The white recognition light was not necessarily used on all aircraft, which can also be evidenced by some recognition light switch boxes not containing the white light switch.

    On the P-51 aircraft the three colored lights were located on the underside of the right wing, near the tip. The lights could be used in combination and could be switched to burn steadily or flash code signals with them. When the switches were in the “DOWN” position, the lights burned steady. When in the center position they were in the “OFF” position. When in the “UP” position the lights were operated intermittently, as coded signals by means of the “KEY” switch.

    The Navy F6F aircraft had the Recognition Lights switches located on the right hand shelf of the cockpit.

    The P-38 Recognition Lights switches were located on the right-hand side of the cockpit, and the red, green and amber lights were located on the bottom of the gondola.

    On the B-24 bomber, the white light was located on top of the fuselage usually over the center line of the wing, or as close as practicable. The colored lights were located on the lower surface of the aircraft, along the center line with the colors being red, green and amber, from forward to the rear of the bomber. On the B-25 bomber, the colored lights were located on the underside of the right wing similar to the fighter aircraft. The B-17G pilot’s manual lists the white recognition light as being installed at the forward end of the dorsal fin. The red, green and amber lights were spaced approximately 15 inches apart along the bottom of the fuselage to the rear of the ball turret. The control switches for each light and the keying switch were located on the central control panel.

    The recognition light switches were wired directly to the to the aircraft batteries on the TBM-3 Torpedo Bomber.

    The F-4U Corsair Navy fighter had the recognition lights on the starboard wing, approximately 24-36 inches from the tip of the wing. The lights were arranged close to the centerline of the wing being mounted so they were perpendicular (inboard to outboard) to the fuselage. On the upper fuselage spine halfway between the tail and the antenna mast was the white recognition light.

    The PBY-5A Catalina flying boat had the recognition lights (see figure _) on the starboard wing, approximately 36 inches from the outboard float. The lights were mounted in parallel with the fuselage (leading to trailing edge).
     
  5. RCB

    RCB New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    That's excellent information, thank you! I wondered if they could be used for codes and the like.
     
  6. Sweb

    Sweb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Mechanic
    Location:
    Florida
    These lights were an early method for IFF - Identification, Friend or Foe - which later evolved into the use of a radio transceiver that sent out and received codes. The codes were changed daily. In this sense, all aircraft interrogated each other and advised the pilots if any aircraft operating in a particular area were friendlies or not. The transceivers sent out a code, it was received by another aircraft's transceiver and that transceiver responded with the correct response code. If no response was received then it was understood the other aircraft was a foe. This system is still in use.
     
  7. Observer1940

    Observer1940 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    #7 Observer1940, Apr 21, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
    Hello RCB and All,

    The rules in August 1940 did not allow British aircraft to fly over the UK displaying navigation or identification lights continuously above 2,000 feet and more than 5 miles from their aerodrome. There was also a height restriction anyway for RAF operational bombers of 5,000 feet, raised to 6,000 feet, after two RAF Whitley crashes on 15th August 1940, at RAF Balloon Barrages. Rules were laid down in S.D. 158. (Secret Document 158 ).

    However, if an RAF aircraft wished to force land at night in the UK, the aircraft would circle the aerodrome / location and show his identification lights 'colour of day' (usually two colours), or/and navigation lights (some were seen showing two reds - Distress) to the ground and could also signal by Aldis Lamp and flash the 'letter of the period'. A.P. 129 RAF Flying Training Manual - Landplanes in the Appendix at the back under - Night Flying.

    Mark
     
  8. Rockyherald

    Rockyherald New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I have what I believe an Amber Identification light. It appears to have never been installed on an aircraft. New Old Stock NOS. The lens part number is AN 3098-1 and on the housing has Amber 26V also Grimes B-238 with the last number obscured. there is also an AN number but the numbers are unreadable. Any help in identifying this assembly will be greatly appreciated.

    Roger
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,768
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    Posting a pic would be helpful...
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,195
    Likes Received:
    2,032
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    It is an IFF light and most likely WWII vintage...your Grimes number would be B-2389

    Product/Part Number B-2389:
    LIGHT,RECOGNITION,A
    Manufacturer/Proponent: GRIMES AEROSPACE COMPANY
    Nomenclature: LIGHT,RECOGNITION,A
    FSG (Federal Supply Group): 62 (Lighting Fixtures and Lamps)
    FSC (Federal Supply Code): 6220 (Electric Vehicular lights and Fixtures)
     
Loading...

Share This Page