Today while I was working, the lights went out and my internet dongle was the only thing blinking blue intermittently in my field of vision. This reminded me of a question that I had some time ago: why do aero planes (commercial) have blinking beacons on their wing tips? Also, why are we instructed to open window blinds during takeoff and landing?


  1. Commercial airplanes have a fixed order of having these lights on wing tips and also on the tail end. These are modeled in a way the ships passing in the sea were/are to help identify the orientation of the vessel descried. Port wing (left) has red light and starboard side (right) has green, direction sense being taken while facing front on the bow of the vessel. There is air protocol in which the vessels must behave on approach determined by the light visible. The etymology of starboard is also interesting (easy mnemonic is 'steerboard' because majority of the world is right handed) The one on the tail is for finding the position of aircraft in rough weathers.
  2. As for open blinds requirement, majority of people tell that it is a FAA requirement because of a variety of reasons though this post mentions the absence of any such binding in regulations but is more of a norm for disaster management, since only the passengers can see the engine while take off and landing (the pilot watches the road ahead). Landing and take off are the most dangerous parts of any flight. There are a few other (rather unconvincing) reasons by a person who claim to be an ex-flight attendant. (Here)

(Images will mostly always be from the internet and no copyright infringement is intended)