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Night Flying Discuss night time aircraft illumination, methods and equipment.

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Old 12-01-2013, 05:32 AM   #1
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Default Requirements for night flying

I was just curious of whether I need to get a whole bunch of colored led lights, or can just had two wing tip lights, a tail light and perhaps headlights to see where the plane is going when landing. I am not into the stunt plane idea yet, so I don't want to go to the strobe and crazy colors, I just want to be able to see the plane well enough in the night and land it well.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:38 AM   #2
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There is no requirement however you want at least two different colors for orientation. On my Swift 2 I have red on one side blue on the other white on the bottom and amber in the rear. Combinations are endless. As long as you know the orientation of the plane you will be good to go.

Happy flying may your crashes be limited and if they are not limited let them be cool.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:44 AM   #3
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Do you use those stick on lights, or wired ones?
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:47 AM   #4
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When I was trying night flying I found that my depth perception was waaaaay off just looking at the LEDs. So be sure you have lots of EMPTY space to fly in

It also helps a lot if you have the landing spot lighted in some way. Just relying on the LED's wasnt good enough for me unless I could see the ground/runway clearly. I landed off in the bushes more than on the runway when in total darkness.

Hopefully, your eyes are better than mine

Oh - it also seems to help a lot if the LED's light up parts of the model rather than point off into space, so your not just looking into a bright point. if you can see the shape of the model it helps tremendously. Looks pretty cool too

I think I need a signature.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
When I was trying night flying I found that my depth perception was waaaaay off just looking at the LEDs. So be sure you have lots of EMPTY space to fly in

It also helps a lot if you have the landing spot lighted in some way. Just relying on the LED's wasnt good enough for me unless I could see the ground/runway clearly. I landed off in the bushes more than on the runway when in total darkness.

Hopefully, your eyes are better than mine

Oh - it also seems to help a lot if the LED's light up parts of the model rather than point off into space, so your not just looking into a bright point. if you can see the shape of the model it helps tremendously. Looks pretty cool too
I have over 20/20 vision, so I should be okay with depth perception. I have no way of lighting up my runway...but then again the whole field is my runway. I was thinking of putting some form of headlights in to light up the ground when landing just in case there were to be a bad spot to land, as well as showing where the front of the plane is.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:55 AM   #6
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Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Some night vision video would also be cool

I think I need a signature.
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:58 AM   #7
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I like at least 3 colors.

Get someone to hold the plane about 100 ft away in the dark and slowly turn it while you are looking for angles where the lights might totally disappear. If you find any then add one or more lights that will be visible from that angle.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
Do you use those stick on lights, or wired ones
I use these

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=8943


Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
When I was trying night flying I found that my depth perception was waaaaay off just looking at the LEDs. So be sure you have lots of EMPTY space to fly in
Agreed keep it close because the lights can blur into one




Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
Oh - it also seems to help a lot if the LED's light up parts of the model rather than point off into space, so your not just looking into a bright point. if you can see the shape of the model it helps tremendously. Looks pretty cool too
Yes this is also a cool way to light it up as well


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Happy flying may your crashes be limited and if they are not limited let them be cool.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:24 AM   #9
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I was thinking of putting lights on each wing, one on the tail and a few on the bottom. It's not a big plane so I can't fly that far anyway. Would getting strips be the best though, such as a strip of red on one wing and a strip on the other, and then a green light or something on the tail, and then a few white lights to act as headlights. I have already ordered some stick on lights, red green and blue I think, maybe it was white. I was just thinking that I probably need more, but I don't want to over do it. That Swift 2 looks nice, but it doesn't seem to match the styling of the Mini Switch. I also don't want much weight. The plane is very sensitive, as the battery fits behind the cog, so I already have weight in the front, I would like to avoid weighing it down too much, hurting the cog and perhaps flying ability overall.
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
I was thinking of putting lights on each wing, one on the tail and a few on the bottom. It's not a big plane so I can't fly that far anyway. Would getting strips be the best though, such as a strip of red on one wing and a strip on the other, and then a green light or something on the tail, and then a few white lights to act as headlights. I have already ordered some stick on lights, red green and blue I think, maybe it was white. I was just thinking that I probably need more, but I don't want to over do it. That Swift 2 looks nice, but it doesn't seem to match the styling of the Mini Switch. I also don't want much weight. The plane is very sensitive, as the battery fits behind the cog, so I already have weight in the front, I would like to avoid weighing it down too much, hurting the cog and perhaps flying ability overall.
Sounds like a great idea. It all depends on what type of night flyer you want with the LED strps you can face them out like my swift or you can face them inward which lights up the foam/frame. Like larry said that can make a really nice effect a well. As far as weight goes, yea a little heavier but not much, Never weighed mine out. Just went for it. Give her a go Night flying is a whole different and fun animal. Always fun/funny to hear comments of "Hey LOOK a UFO!!"

Happy flying may your crashes be limited and if they are not limited let them be cool.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:12 PM   #11
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What lights do you recommend? Are those strip led lights any good? Do they have a connector on them for the receiver? I am also interesting in night flying because it is often so windy here except in the morning or night.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
What lights do you recommend? Are those strip led lights any good?
I like these personally and they work great
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=8943

Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
Do they have a connector for the receiver?
nope you have to do all the soldering. I think you can hook them up to the Rx and hopefully some one will chime in to answer that for you. I have mine running to the battery with a battery connector that i can connect and disconnect just like esc to battery.

Happy flying may your crashes be limited and if they are not limited let them be cool.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fishbonez View Post
I like these personally and they work great
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=8943


nope you have to do all the soldering. I think you can hook them up to the Rx and hopefully some one will chime in to answer that for you. I have mine running to the battery with a battery connector that i can connect and disconnect just like esc to battery.
So you have two connectors feeding off the battery by creating a y connector? How do you feed the lights out to the plane. Sorry I'm used to wiring for motors and esc but not used to lights.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:45 PM   #14
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I rig up my lights like this one jst gets soldered to the light strip the other gets soldered to my esc battery plug. Hope this helps you out some with your questions. Many ways to to get power to the lights this is just my easy solution that I like to use. When I fly during the day I just unplug the lights. Worked out good I am just completing a night flyer for a friend.


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Old 12-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #15
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By the way save yourself some money on the lights with fast cheap shipping from heads up. http://www.headsuphobby.com/LIGHT-SETS_c217.htm
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by gramps2161 View Post
By the way save yourself some money on the lights with fast cheap shipping from heads up. http://www.headsuphobby.com/LIGHT-SETS_c217.htm
That helps a lot. Thanks. I was thinking of putting on the jst plug and plugging right the receiver, that's how I had it on my rc cars. Thanks for the link as well. A lot of places have expensive shipping. As I have an extra light set for one of my rc cars, composed of 4 lights that are really bright, I was thinking of using those and plug them into the receiver and used them as landing lights and maybe use two on the bottom to tell the orientation of the plane.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:25 PM   #17
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Thanks Gramps.
I have my soldered just like that however mine is more of a Y-Harness with JSTs.
Thanks for the link as well I did not realize HURC sold those lights. Definitely keeping that link in my favorites

Happy flying may your crashes be limited and if they are not limited let them be cool.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:18 PM   #18
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You know fish once piper finds out how much fun this night flying is he's gonna be hooked.

Wish it wasn't so cold up here at night just I don't feel like going out night flying and freezing.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gramps2161 View Post
You know fish once piper finds out how much fun this night flying is he's gonna be hooked.

Wish it wasn't so cold up here at night just I don't feel like going out night flying and freezing.
Well if I can get the plane not crash I will be hooked
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:28 AM   #20
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add the lights to illuminate the plane as suggeted before. light up the surfaces with different colors. green for right/red for left is the navigational way. i too have just ventured into night flying and don't be affraid to use a all white foamy epp plane....just set the throws to low rates.

this is a second flight i recorded with a keychain camera attached to a hat visor. i was shocked how well the vid came out. the next flight was total darker than this recorded flight which had still alittle sunset light to help with the first attempt at night flying.




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narrow is the place to land...wide is the space to crash....choose the narrow way!
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:44 AM   #21
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How does this seem? It says it has servo connectors, but I am not sure what the wiring harness is exactly, is it just a multiple lead connector to lead into one servo connection? Not worth an extra $20 bucks to me. Looking on the Heads Up site, there are only JST connectors listed, but I don't use JST connectors anywhere on the plane, so I'd rather stick with the servo connections.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:01 AM   #22
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Just by one of these and cut off the female end and solder it to the lights, or you can even buy the Y connecter and do the same and make it easier to run the lights on both sides of the plane.

http://www.headsuphobby.com/SERVO-EX...wire-C-110.htm
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:20 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by gramps2161 View Post
Just by one of these and cut off the female end and solder it to the lights, or you can even buy the Y connecter and do the same and make it easier to run the lights on both sides of the plane.

http://www.headsuphobby.com/SERVO-EX...wire-C-110.htm

Thanks, I have made an order now

I couldn't get red lights, but I'll just use another color, will likely use the other light for my rc car as landing lights, depending on how bright these are.


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Old 12-02-2013, 01:29 AM   #24
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theres another option,a company called "little bright lites" off a set of light that can plug into an empty channel in the Rx to activate 8 bright lites. and you direct the light to reflect off the surfaces from the fuse. the wires are already soldered and are meant for wing tips headlight and 1 strobe. i put these on a bonanza v tail just for kicks....i'd not use them as they are for night flying,but repositioned they might do the job and you can use the lg channel to switch them on. cost 8 years ago was around $20.


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narrow is the place to land...wide is the space to crash....choose the narrow way!
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:41 AM   #25
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Toby HURC has something like that and cheap little over 12 bucks.
http://www.headsuphobby.com/GT-Power...stem-A-270.htm

I have this controller on my maxi wing make em blink, fade, and strobe. Been using it for 3 years. http://www.lowpricerc.com/product_in...a560b1c9fedee5
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