I have always noticed there is what appears to be three lights on the center column, which separates the pilot and copilot window of the Airbus A320 family. From the looks, the center light is red and two surrounding lights are white. They also seem to be present in other aircraft, like the A350. Though there they are far less visible and integrate more smoothly into the background colors.

My question is: What are those for? I have checked the FCOM and the internet but I could not find any information on them. See the image below, for the lights I am referring to.

These are the lights I refer to


1 Answer 1


These are not lights, they are the Eye Reference Indicators. They are used to find the correct seating position. You adjust your seat such that the white ball is exactly hidden behind the red ball on your side:

Eye Reference Indicator

Since the A300 Airbus has provided an eye reference indicator on the centre structure of the windshield in all Airbus aircraft (fig.3). It enables flight crew to adjust their seat position so that their eyes position matches the eye reference point. The indicator is a device that is fitted with 3 balls painted red or white. To achieve a correct seating position, pilots must align the red and white ball meaning that the white ball is hidden when in the correct position.

(Airbus - Are You Properly Seated?)

This YouTube video shows how to properly adjust your seat on the A320 (you can see the eye reference indicators at around 1:30): CORRECT COCKPIT SEAT POSITION! Eye-Position-Indicator explained by "CAPTAIN" Joe

They are not unique to Airbus though, some other aircraft have them too, like e.g. the ATR-72 (left) or the Dash-8 Q400 (right):

Eye Level Indicator on the ATR-72 and Dash-8 Q400
(image source: theflyingengineer.com)

Boeing uses a different method for seat adjustment, so you won't find such indicators there.

  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Almost like PAPI for pilots' eyes 😂 $\endgroup$
    – DeepSpace
    Aug 15, 2020 at 17:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Bianfable thank you! That's an excellent answer and explication. I have marked it as such and upvoted it. $\endgroup$
    – BenjB
    Aug 15, 2020 at 22:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DeepSpace What does "PAPI" stand for? $\endgroup$
    – user128
    Aug 16, 2020 at 4:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Accounting aviation.stackexchange.com/q/5170/3427 $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2020 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Fattie To actually answer your question: Yes, the seats are powered. You can see it in operation in the video I linked ;) $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Aug 16, 2020 at 5:57

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