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

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Old 04-25-2016, 05:35 AM   #1
Old Desert Rat
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Default LEDs For Orientation On An Overcast Day?

I'm an old fart newbie, and haven't even got my first plane yet. However, I've had a few training flights and played with simulators quite a bit. I've noticed that I have trouble determining the orientation of the aircraft at time, particularly in dimmer light.

When I stumbled into this section, it occurred to me that if the LEDs were bright enough, they might give me visual clues about the aircraft's orientation.

Is the current technology able to put out that much light?
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:59 AM   #2
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Depends how overcast.

Having flown RC at twilight, I know that as daylight fades the lights become more and more useful for seeing the model.

There is a point where the fading daylight is not really adequate to fly and the lights aren't really giving enough indication of the model's orientation. I'm not sure how much of this effect is due to the eye getting used to the lower light level. Your eyes don't adjust quite as fast as the light level changes.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:54 PM   #3
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ODrat,
the answer to your question is yes. night flyers are extremely visible at dusk and the dark of night. strips on quads hop me see the front or back of them when flying line of sight. i will search out the vender that makes light for motorcycles that mount with double stick tape and can be seen during the day.

narrow is the place to land...wide is the space to crash....choose the narrow way!
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:50 AM   #4
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Huge LED Light Selection‎
Adwww.superbrightleds.com/LED_Lights‎(866) 862-4808
4.5
rating for superbrightleds.com

narrow is the place to land...wide is the space to crash....choose the narrow way!
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:44 AM   #5
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Night flying is a hoot, and yeah the led's can help orientation on an overcast, day or near twilight as well.

My wing is the one you see being held up til about the 5 second mark of this video.


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Old 04-26-2016, 04:48 AM   #6
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Thanks, guys. I've done business with superbrightleds.com some years back, when I replaced all my filament blinkers and instrument panel lights on my dual sport with leds. I wasn't sure how much further the technology has come on smaller bulb applications.

My father always taught me never to be too proud to take any advantage that I can get -- and to steal any good idea left unattended.
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Old 04-26-2016, 05:56 AM   #7
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I have a 10 watt led on the bottom of a glider, that is set up to blink slowly on command. If left on, it needs a large heatsink.

It is so bright that it can easily be seen on a bright sunny day at over 800'

I always use standard navigation lighting pattern; Red on left wingtip, Green on right wingtip, and white on tail. I may have other lights, but at least I won't get confused with different colored wingtips.
My nav lights can be seen fairly well during the day.

I find my lights on ebay or Hobbyking.

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Old 04-26-2016, 06:08 AM   #8
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Heat sink? An interesting point. I'd hate to have my foamie come down with its wingtips and tail feathers drooping.
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Old 04-26-2016, 02:19 PM   #9
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Well, I have never used LEDs on a plane, but I can easily see how that could help, especially if they were anywhere near as bright as the blinkie I have on my bike, which I can see from almost a mile away, even in daylight if it's pointed right at me. As such I would pick LEDs that are directional, like the super-bright LED flashlights, and I wouldn't put more than one color on the same side, especially if your eyesight isn't what it used to be. One color on the front a different one on the rear would be easier to distinguish. For example; if the plane was headed towards you, you would see green, red would mean it's flying away from you. From the side of course it wouldn't matter; the direction the plane is flying would tell you which was the front.

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Old 04-27-2016, 02:40 AM   #10
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The 10 watt LED is insanely bright, you can NOT look at it at less than 20-30 feet. It is really not intended for model airplanes, but at a slow flash it is OK, even then you can't leave it on.

I was going to modify one of my solid aluminum flashlights to use the thing, powered by a 3s Lipo with a low voltage alarm. It pulls 900 ma at 12 V. I would not recommend it to most people, it can get hot enough to burn your fingers in seconds. It looks light a arc welder up close.

I use bright, but wide pattern LEDs on my wingtips, if I see the colors in the wrong orientation, I know the model is either inverted or coming back to me,

I will admit I am stuck on red on left, green on right, and white on tail,
Probably from my days as a boat owner, Started with a 10' row boat, ended up with a 24' i/o with a fly bridge, damn I loved that boat. And if it's good for the big boys airplanes, it's good enough for me.

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