14 CFR part 91, section 91.205(c) specifies the basic minimum airplane equipment that is required for VFR flight at night. This equipment includes basic instruments, lights, electrical energy source, and spare fuses if applicable.

The standard instruments required by 14 CFR part 91, section 91.205(d) for IFR flight are valuable assets for aircraft control at night. 14 CFR part 91, section 91.205(c)(3) specifies that during VFR flight at night, operating aircraft are required to have an approved anti-collision light system, which can include a flashing or rotating beacon and position lights. However, 14 CFR part 91, section 91.209(b) gives the pilot-in-command leeway to turn off the anti-collision lights in the interest of safety. Airplane position lights are arranged similar to those of boats and ships. A red light is positioned on the left wingtip, a green light on the right wingtip, and a white light on the tail. [Figure]

Airplane Equipment and Lighting
Position lights
This arrangement provides a means to determine the general direction of movement of other airplanes in flight. If both a red and green light of another aircraft are observed, and the red light is on the left and the green to the right, the airplane is flying the same direction. Care must be taken to maintain clearance. If red were on the right and green to the left, the airplane could be on a collision course.

Landing lights are not only useful for taxi, takeoffs, and landings, but also provide a means by which airplanes can be seen at night by other pilots. Pilots are encouraged to turn on their landing lights when operating within 10 miles of an airport and below 10,000 feet. Operation with landing lights on applies to both day and night or in conditions of reduced visibility. This should also be done in areas where flocks of birds may be expected.Although turning on aircraft lights supports the “see and be seen” concept, pilots should continue to keep a sharp lookout for other aircraft. Aircraft lights may blend in with the stars or the lights of the cities at night and go unnoticed unless a conscious effort is made to distinguish them from other lights.