If you’ve flown on a commercial airplane during the nighttime hours, you may recall seeing the cabin lights dim during takeoff and landing. Once the sun goes down, the cabin lights typically turn on to illuminate the plane’s interior. During takeoffs and landings, however, the cabin lights will typically dim. Unless you’re familiar with commercial airplanes and how they work, you might be wondering why the cabin lights dim during nighttime takeoffs and landings. In this post, we’re going to reveal the reason behind the dimming cabin lights.
Easier to Find Emergency Exits
The main reason airplanes dim their cabin lights during takeoffs and landings is because it makes the emergency exits easier for passengers to find. According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) guidelines, commercial airplanes with 110 seats must have at least two Type I or higher emergency exits. Most incidents, of course, occur during takeoffs and landings, so it’s important for commercial airlines to make their emergency exits easy for passengers to find. By dimming the cabin lights, passengers will easily see the illuminated emergency exit signs. As a result, dimming of the cabin lights during nighttime takeoffs and landings can save lives.
Another reason airplanes dim their cabin lights when taking off and landing at night is because it helps passengers adjust their vision to the darkness. Why does this matter? Well, if an airplane experiences an emergency, passengers will need to exit the plane as quickly as possible. If the cabin lights are fully illuminated, passengers will have to quickly transition from a well-lit environment to a dark environment. And moving from an illuminated environment to a dark environment can restrict passengers’ vision. To help passengers adjust their vision, airplanes dim their cabin lights when taking off and landing at night.
Lowers Power Consumption
Of course, dimming the cabin lights during nighttime takeoffs and landings also lowers the power consumption of airplanes. It takes power to run cabin lights. When taking off and landing, airplanes need all the power they can get for optimal engine performance. With the cabin lights illuminated, power will be redirected away from the engines.
To recap, the main reason airplanes dim their cabin lights during nighttime takeoffs and landings is for safety. It creates a safer environment by making the emergency exits easier for passengers to find while also allowing passengers to adjust their vision if an emergency occurs.