An aircraft electrical system is made up of the normal electrical equipment which unlike a car has 14 or 28 direct current electricity. The equipment & systems include an auxiliary power units alternator or generator,variable frequency starter generator or alternator, battery, master/battery switch,alternator or generator switch, bus-bar, fuses, circuit breakers, voltage regulator, ammeter & loadmeter. The rest is electrical wiring.
alternators or generators are driven by the jet engine to supply electric current to the electrical system moreover maintain an adequate electrical charge in the battery and recharge it. The battery provides electrical power for starting the engine while storing energy to power components on the case of generator or alternator failure.
The master switch turns the whole electrical system well except the ignition system. The batteries are either lead acid battery or nickel cadmium battery better known as nicd battery. The rest i.e bus-bar, fuses, circuit breakers, voltage regulator, ammeter & loadmeter are used to provide, break circuit, trip circuit, regulate and measure electricity for easy use and efficiency respectively.
The lighting system includes; position lights, strobe lights, anti collision lights, landing lights/taxi lights, interior cabin lights & instrument lights.
- Beacon light – switched on by a pilot when he intends to start the engines to alert people nearby or in air to identify the plane to oncoming traffic.
- navigation lights – includes one green light on the left wing tip, one red on the right wing tip and one white at the top of the vertical stabilizer. They are used to let the pilot know direction in which another airplane is heading. red on the right and green on the left means its coming towards you. white only means its heading away from you. red light only means its coming from the right and it has the right of way. green light only means its coming from the left but you have the right of way.
- take off & taxi lights – helps pilots see the area infront of them moreover it shows mobility of the plane.
- landing lights – bright lights on the middle of the wings that help the pilot during touch down by enabling visibility of landing area. They are known as (notice me) during take off.
- Turn off lights – are used to light the plane a little sideways at the front for easy turning.
- strobe lights – They are three white lights, 2 in the wing tips and one on top of the vertical stabilizer. A pilot turns them on when he intends to enter a runway in use. He then turns them off after landing when the plane is off the runway to show he has vacated the runway.
- logo lights – shine on the logo painted on the tail of the aircraft in order to identify it.
- Wing lights – Used to light up the wing during flight to enable the pilot to examine it i.e if there is icing on wing.
These are the major electrical components of a plane.