Different sources seem to have different opinions:
These lights include landing lights, red or white flashing beacons, wingtip strobes, and wingtip navigation lights.
- Beacons and strobes are flashing lights.
- Beacons may be red or white.
- Strobes are wingtip lights. I interpret this as strobes being directional while beacons cover 180°.
b. An aircraft anti−collision light system can use one or more rotating beacons and/or strobe lights, be colored either red or white, and have different (higher than minimum) intensities when compared to other aircraft. Many aircraft have both a rotating beacon and a strobe light system.
d. Prop and jet blast forces generated by large aircraft have overturned or damaged several smaller aircraft taxiing behind them. To avoid similar results, and in the interest of preventing upsets and injuries to ground personnel from such forces, the FAA recommends that air carriers and commercial operators turn on their rotating beacons anytime their aircraft engines are in operation.
- Beacons are rotating lights. They're always referred as rotating beacons in the AIM.
- Both beacons and strobes can be either red or white.
- I take the sentence Many aircraft have both a rotating beacon and a strobe light system. as beacons being the lower intensity lights which are constantly turned on during engine operation signalling the danger of an aircraft in operation, while the strobes being the higher intensity flashing ligths with the reason of being seen from great distance.
Aircraft navigation lights are placed in a way similar to that of marine vessels, with a red navigation light located on the left wingtip leading edge and a green light on the right wingtip leading edge. A white navigation light is as far aft as possible on the tail or each wing tip. High-intensity strobe lights are located on the aircraft to aid in collision avoidance.
In civil aviation, pilots must keep navigation lights on from sunset to sunrise. High-intensity white strobe lights are part of the anti-collision light system, as well as the red rotating beacon.
All aircraft built after 11 March 1996 must have an anti-collision light system (strobe lights or rotating beacon) turned on for all flight activities in poor visibility. The anti-collision system is recommended in good visibility, where only strobes and beacon are required. For example, just before pushback, the pilot must keep the beacon lights on to notify ground crews that the engines are about to start. These beacon lights stay on for the duration of the flight. While taxiing, the taxi lights are on. When coming onto the runway, the taxi lights go off and the landing lights and strobes go on. When passing 10,000 feet, the landing lights are no longer required, and the pilot can elect to turn them off. The same cycle in reverse order applies when landing.
- Beacons are red rotating lights.
- Strobes are high-intensity white lights.
- Beacons stay on for the duration of the flight including the whole engine run time.
- Strobes are added from takeoff until leaving the runway after landing.
Is there a clear definition?