I live about 5 miles from a small airport. At night, during rain or snow storms when I imagine there would be poor visibility, I always turn our outside house lights on, in case they could possibly help a little plane in distress. Am I crazy?

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    $\begingroup$ You're not crazy, you're considerate. Thanks for thinking about people in little planes. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2018 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ This might be a nice gesture and the fact that you think about things like that shows your keen to learn. BUT it really is not neccessary! If visibility is an issue, the pilot is/should be flying IFR anyway. Reducing your power consumption might help the planet more... $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2018 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I appreciate that. I won't do it anymore. $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2018 at 0:12

2 Answers 2


Yes we can see lights on the ground from small planes, but your extra lights do not help approaching aircraft. If anything they may serve to disorient pilots. In low visibility situations, provided the pilot is properly rated and the aircraft is properly equipped they may be flying IFR. Under these types of operations when popping out of the clouds we may be looking for runway lighting. Other lights on the ground can (and have been) confused for runway lights in the past.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Dave. I'm glad I asked. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2018 at 17:11

They can see your lights, but they don't help. "Black hole" approaches (where there aren't any lights on the ground except for the runway) can be difficult and unnerving, but even if that's the case for that airport, one set of house lights isn't going to appreciably affect the situation.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, Ralgha. I won't do it again. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2018 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't hurt either, and I must disagree with the other answer in that respect. If someone confuses house lights for runway lights, they need more practice and shouldn't be flying hard IFR at night. $\endgroup$
    – Khantahr
    Sep 8, 2018 at 18:04

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