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What Kind of Drones Have White, Red, and Green Lights?

A reader asked, “What kind of drones have white red, and green lights?” Again, it is another UAS question with no great answer.

Facts About Lights Under CFR 107

A drone is not required to have any lights on it to fly except for an anti-collision light when flying between civil twilight and night.

Manned aircraft have a requirement for red, green, and white position or navigation lights.

For more specifics on manned aircraft navigation lights, see FAA AC 20-30B Aircraft Position Light and Anticollision Lights.

Under Part 107 the only required light is found in 107.29 and it says “anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles that has a flash rate sufficient to avoid a collision.”

Since drones are not Airworthiness Certified and do not meet any FAA requirement for construction, there is no mandatory red or green light required. However, some manufacturers do include red and green lights. Those lights can be turned off and are not required for UAS night flights.

The only light requirement is for the anti-collision strobe light that can be seen for at least 3 statute miles. For more on your obligations to verify the visual range and logbook notations, read this.

There is no requirement I have read that requires the anticollision light to be red, green, or white. However, white would be the standard color when we look at the common standard in manned aviation.

In AC 107-2A the FAA says, “As is the case for civil twilight operations, the small unmanned aircraft must be equipped with anti-collision lighting that is visible for at least 3 sm. However, the remote PIC may reduce the intensity of the light if the remote PIC determines it is in the interest of safety to do so. For example, a bright light or a bright strobe light on the small unmanned aircraft in very close proximity to the remote pilot could cause the remote pilot to lose the ability to observe the small unmanned aircraft’s location, speed, attitude, or altitude with accuracy. The remote pilot maintains the discretion to reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lighting when he or she determines it would be in the best interest of safety to do so. Discretion is an important component of § 107.19, which states that the remote PIC is directly responsible for the operation of the small unmanned aircraft. The remote PIC must ensure the operation of the small unmanned aircraft complies with all regulations of part 107. This includes the requirement to maintain the capability of visually observing the small unmanned aircraft. Section 107.29 does not require small unmanned aircraft operating during the day to have illuminated small unmanned aircraft anti-collision lighting. Lighting is generally not effective for mitigating risk of collision during daytime operations. Remote pilots may exercise their discretion, however, and elect to have lighting on during all daytime operations.”

About Steve Rhode

The Public Safety Flight website is dedicated to news, honest information, tips, and stories about the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAVs, aircraft, and drones in the fire service and other public safety niches.The site was founded by Steve Rhode, an FAA-certificated airplane commercial and instrument certificated pilot and a very experienced Part 107 UAS commercial pilot. Steve is the Chief Pilot with the Wake Forest Fire Department and the North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy. He also provides expert advice to drone pilots through Homeland Security Information Network and he is an FAA Safety Team drone expert. Steve loves to work closely with public safety pilots to answer questions and share information, real-world truth, and drone operation advice. You can contact Steve here, learn more about Steve here, or join his public safety pilot private email list here.

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