Weird Science!

St Elmo’s fire!


Hey Adam,

Noticed the light in the cockpit is on. Since we don’t (at least I hope not) drive with the interior light in the car on, do you guys always keep the cockpit dome light illumimated during flight, or is there a certain point at which it is turned off?


You don’t drive with the domelight on at night because it’s distracting at makes it more difficult to see the road. We do the same during takeoff and landing. BUT, when you’re flying over the Pacific at 41,000’ at 4am it’s a little different. It’s really personal preference but many pilots (myself included) find it much easier to stay awake and alert with the lights on. It also makes it easier to do your work (plotting, fuel scores, brief charts etc). Generally we’ll “go dark” at the top of descent to give our eyes enough time to re acclimate to the dark. Good question.


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I actually prefer to fly with the lights off because I feel that I can see clouds and thunderstorms better that way, but I seem to be in the minority on this.

That’s because it’s even harder to see the clouds and thunderstorms when one is snoring!