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Thread: Wing tip lights

  1. #1

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    Wing tip lights

    My Super Cub wings are being rebuilt many miles away from me. I want to put LED strobe/navigation lights on the wing tips. Aeroleds have Pulsar NS and NSP lights available. You only use the NSP lights, that have a rearward facing light I understand, if that rearward facing light can be seen from the rear. So can a rearward facing light on my cub wings be seen from the rear (I frankly have never paid attention to that) or not? Are the position lights so far around the front part of the tip that they aren't visible from the rear? Or other words, do I order the NS or NSPs?

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Best setup for a conventional tail is the standard nav and strobes on the wing tips and a white nav/strobe on the rudder. This will give the best view from most angles. The nav lights with the rear facing white lights were made for canard type aircraft. Besides Cubs already have mount points for all three of these lights.

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    I have a RED LED light on top of the rudder. Will that suffice ILO a white light on the tail?

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    That's a beacon. Considered an 'anti collision light' as per CAR 3. The white nav light on the rudder indicates the rear of the aircraft in the same manner as green and red indicate right and left wing tips.

    Do you not have a white light on the rudder already?

    Web
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    I do have a white light on the rudder down about half way.

    1. Could I put a LED white strobe in that spot? Seems like maybe Aeroled makes one? Would it be beneficial? Is it "hard" to do?
    2. I really don't fly at night however. But I do want to be "seen" the best my budget and 8 amp alternator can do for me that is only really 6 amps at about 2300 rpm. I agree with a friend that says being "run over", from the rear, is really one of the most probably scenarios in a mid air collision as I only fly at about 80 mph true airspeed and a lot of planes fly at about twice that number. Whatdayathink?
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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    If you want both a position light (the white light on the tail) and a strobe you'll need two circuits to the tail. However, could wire it so that strobe always comes on with position light. Using an LED system, I'd think the amperage might not be much?
    Gordon

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    But would you want a strobe on while taxiing at night? Even in the daytime I get flicker vertigo from those school Cherokees who have to run strobes all the time. An extra wire is not that difficult.

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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    But would you want a strobe on while taxiing at night? Even in the daytime I get flicker vertigo from those school Cherokees who have to run strobes all the time. An extra wire is not that difficult.
    Agreed, and good point.

    He said he's not flying at night, but that might not have anything to do with the pertinent regs.
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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    I do have a white light on the rudder down about half way.

    1. Could I put a LED white strobe in that spot? Seems like maybe Aeroled makes one? Would it be beneficial? Is it "hard" to do?
    2. I really don't fly at night however. But I do want to be "seen" the best my budget and 8 amp alternator can do for me that is only really 6 amps at about 2300 rpm. I agree with a friend that says being "run over", from the rear, is really one of the most probably scenarios in a mid air collision as I only fly at about 80 mph true airspeed and a lot of planes fly at about twice that number. Whatdayathink?
    Stay with LED lights for the low current draw. Several manufacturer's make a combination strobe and white tail nav light assembly. With a little creativity you can mount them in the stock nav light location.

    Web
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    The Super Cub I am building now has Pulsar NS in the stock Piper brackets on the wings and the Suntail in the rudder and the Whelen LED beacon on the stock mount on the late model rudder.
    Steve Pierce

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    Copied and pasted from the last thread you started about wingtip lights.
    http://www.supercub.org/forum/showth...ng-tip-strobes

    FWIW. My Wildcat Cub's lights include
    2- VisionX Solo Pod 2.15" for forward facing recognition using a MaxPulse flasher- 2@.83a
    2- Whelen Orion wingtip nav/strobe comination (not synched)- navs- 2@.15a, strobes- 2@.35a (I never use the navs)
    1- Aveo PosiStrobe on the vertical edge of the rudder- 1@.4a
    1- Whelen 71080 flashing beacon on the rudder top- 1@.56a

    With every light on- consumption is 3.62a total. Take out the navs and consider that the nose lights operate one at a time? 2.49a. All are more than adequate for daytime recognition. Very impressive, in fact.

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    I am trying to be "seen' and at the same time rebuild to a 1050 lb 160 hp cub (no starter or starter ring, generator or big battery will all help). So weight matters for sure. BUT I also want to be "seen" especially at non towered airports and by the DRONE folks who think there are no AGL limits. So I think I will put switches to everything and put the Aeroled Pulsar NS on the wing tips and their Suntail on the back of the rudder and I already have a LED Whelen red beacon light on top of the tail now. I will also add an Aeroled flood landing light at top of the center of the cabane vee vs one in each wing that would add more weight and cost. Any suggestions I can solicit the better. As in lighting, I am not the brightest bulb out there!

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    If you're going to run with no starter, eliminate the whole flywheel. Easiest way to do it and keep your timing marks, is to find an unserviceable flywheel. Take it to a machine shop and have it turned down until there is only the center left, the same diameter as the prop flange. Then have them transfer the timing marks from the backside of the flywheel to the edge of that piece that's left. Minimal weight and check timing by sighting down the split line of the crankcase to the marks on the edge of the disc. Also uses stock prop bolts.

    When wiring the nav/strobe lights, use three conductor shielded wire. One conductor for each nav power, strobe power, synch, and use the shield braid as ground. Easy to connect to switch breakers for power and it gets the grounds out of wings/rudder and into the fuselage.

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    If I buy a set of Whelan Orion 650's for each wing, an AeroLED Suntail, and run the sync between the three. What strobe flash pattern will I get? I know the Orions are an on/off strobe, and that the AeroLED Pulsars/strobe pattern is the rapid fire. Is their Suntail also the rapid fire, or would it match the on/off of the Orions?

    Might anyone know?

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  15. #15
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I don't see a specific mention of a rapid fire pattern in the specs. Either way, I doubt it would matter even if synch'd with the Orions. Why not just use the Orion 500 tail light?

    Web
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  16. #16

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    I'm not opposed to the Whelan 500 tail, and that's what I was going to go with at first glance. Then, found some other posts about it not being as plug and play as a Suntail would be, as far as fitting into the existing hole on a super cub rudder.

    After watching countless youtube vids for comparison of all the options available, I think I prefer the on/off of the Whelan 650 strobes. Maybe it's not that big of a deal to wallow out the existing hole to accept the Whelan and keep all the same manufacturer.

  17. #17
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Is your rudder stripped down right now or does it have fabric on?

    Web
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    Fabric on.

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Extra fun then.

    Use a piece of 20 gauge, three conductor, shielded wire for the nav/strobe combo. It has the effect of routing in one wire instead of three or four separate wires. Otherwise, as you've been told, just carefully fit the unit to the mount.

    Web
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  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I was putting together an order today for the AeroLED Pulsar NS and Suntail. I installed them on the last build and liked them. Whelen rubbed me the wrong way and AeroLED has been great to work with.
    Steve Pierce

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    G44's Avatar
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    I have had awesome customer service with Aero LED!

    Kurt

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    Thanks Web and Steve for your insight.

    What's everyone's consensus on brightness? the Pulsar NS or Orion 650's brighter, same-same?..

  23. #23
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Kind of subjective, but find a spec on lumens or candelas. Higher that number the brighter the light was as measured by a test rig. Poor mans way is to use the light that has the highest current draw. If all else is equal (such as number of LEDs and mounting pattern) the higher current draw should produce a brighter light.

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    Just installed the NSP, Sun Beacon II and Sun Tail. I was amazed at the brightness, definitely helps with being seen.

  25. #25
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Yep like others have said AeroLED has a great product and customer service! I’ll probably set my Super Cub project up with their stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tgskillskill View Post
    If I buy a set of Whelan Orion 650's for each wing, an AeroLED Suntail, and run the sync between the three. What strobe flash pattern will I get? I know the Orions are an on/off strobe, and that the AeroLED Pulsars/strobe pattern is the rapid fire. Is their Suntail also the rapid fire, or would it match the on/off of the Orions?

    Might anyone know?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
    I have a 185C project that we took over as a "custom" build that fell flat, has about every combo of light mods I can imagine previously partially installed. Not all the AeroLED series play together well and none of the Whelen plays with the AeroLED at all at this point. Combined with dual landing/taxi lights (both wings) and wing tip landing flood lights that all pulse, this thing is a vertigo bomb. Haven't given up hope yet but we may have to do some creative switching to make it safe. We're right on the edge of STC's defeating each other (if not there now).
    AeroLED has been great in helping, Whelen not so much.
    All in all, I would say overkill is possible. Best to choose a good package and install it well.

    Ken

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    It’s overkill until you’re are flying around a congested area where more people than not have their heads down twisting knobs on their video game panel and out of the corner of their eye pickup your spaceship lights. I’ll take disco ball lights over not being seen
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinJ View Post
    It’s overkill until you’re are flying around a congested area where more people than not have their heads down twisting knobs on their video game panel and out of the corner of their eye pickup your spaceship lights. I’ll take disco ball lights over not being seen
    A big mash of the like button on Kevin’s post! Light em up!

    Kurt

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Robbins View Post
    I have a 185C project that we took over as a "custom" build that fell flat, has about every combo of light mods I can imagine previously partially installed. Not all the AeroLED series play together well and none of the Whelen plays with the AeroLED at all at this point. Combined with dual landing/taxi lights (both wings) and wing tip landing flood lights that all pulse, this thing is a vertigo bomb. Haven't given up hope yet but we may have to do some creative switching to make it safe. We're right on the edge of STC's defeating each other (if not there now).
    AeroLED has been great in helping, Whelen not so much.
    All in all, I would say overkill is possible. Best to choose a good package and install it well.

    Ken
    That's what on/off switches are for. Keep each light/system on it's own control switch and choose what to turn on or off and when to do it. Great example of why you don't put two systems on one switch, i.e. nav lights and strobes on same switch. Any time you may need to switch off the strobes is going to be the time you want to keep the navs on.

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    Seaworthy's Avatar
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    Marine Corps Aviation since 1966

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Landing lights in both wings and the Max Pulse controller. That is what is going in the Super Cub I am building right now. https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catal...clickkey=28439 Installed it on the PA12 Charlie Center built that was in Northern Pilot years ago and it gets your attention.
    Steve Pierce

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  32. #32
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    I have the aero led lights with built in pulse. No controller and you can get a module from them to get both to flash at the same time
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    What’s the point in synchronizing strobe lights? Does anyone think it improves visibility? Has anyone seen any data that one brand of LED strobe has saved more lives than another? Yeah, me either. The same is true for forward recognition lights. There’s no doubt they improve safety but to imply one is brighter or wingtips are better than cowl is unsubstantiated. A single forward flasher gets my attention as well as two in the wingtips. I can’t differentiate between brands of strobes flashing in daylight. I do think Whelen’s Comet Flash was better than single flash but nobody seeks that out these days. Personally I think a tail strobe may be the most important light for Cubs, but that’s subjective and based on my own close calls.

  34. #34
    Seaworthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    I am trying to be "seen' and at the same time rebuild to a 1050 lb 160 hp cub (no starter or starter ring, generator or big battery will all help). So weight matters for sure. BUT I also want to be "seen" especially at non towered airports and by the DRONE folks who think there are no AGL limits. So I think I will put switches to everything and put the Aeroled Pulsar NS on the wing tips and their Suntail on the back of the rudder and I already have a LED Whelen red beacon light on top of the tail now. I will also add an Aeroled flood landing light at top of the center of the cabane vee vs one in each wing that would add more weight and cost. Any suggestions I can solicit the better. As in lighting, I am not the brightest bulb out there!
    As an employee in public safety and augering around the skies for 50 + years the best advice I can give you is always keep in mind that you could be a 747 lit up with day glo orange with 360 degree strobes and someone will take a shot at you. Being "lit up" will make folks "who are looking" aware of your presence, but so many are no looking at gadgets, glass panels, fiddling with phones, etc, etc. Getting within five miles of any airport, controlled or otherwise, should peg your "awareness" meter. You have no idea what people may do, especially folks with their new go fast machines. Mixing tail draggers with the new small jets, Cirrus etc is a recipe for problems. I give the "go fast" people a wide berth, simply because the first mistake will be the last mistake. As for the drones, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Companies intending to make use of small and large drones have no clue that there are small aircraft flying at 1000-1500 AGL and likely don't care. Someone will be #1 to get whacked by a drone carrying a case of beer, a defibrillator, real estate company cameras etc. Police and fire are now using drones on a large scale. Best wishes on your new plane.
    Marine Corps Aviation since 1966

  35. #35
    G44's Avatar
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    I removed my Whelen strobes and replaced them with the Aero LED’s, saved 2 pounds as weighed on a postal type of scale. That may be of interest to some if increased brightness isn't.

    Kurt
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  36. #36
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I wonder if three synchronized lights would get your attention more than three separate flashes? I have always synched them but always installed the same brand all the way around.
    Steve Pierce

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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    .... forward recognition lights. There’s no doubt they improve safety but to imply one is brighter or wingtips are better than cowl is unsubstantiated. A single forward flasher gets my attention as well as two in the wingtips.....
    I disagree. I think wig-wag lights on both wings are more visible than a single blinking light, esp from far away.
    Kenmore has had them for years now on the Beavers they operate in my area,
    I always spot them a long ways off.
    I put a single flashing LED landing light in the LH wing of my 180,
    some day I'd like to put a light bucket in the RH wing & upgrade to a wig-wag set-up.
    FWIW two side-by-side lights wig-wagging are said to blend into one continuous light from a distance.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  38. #38

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    There’s no point in long range recognition. It’s just a distraction that takes your eyes away from what’s more important. I need to see planes on a converging path inside a mile. Maybe less. Seeing planes from 20 miles doesn’t enhance safety. And I’d bet I see more Beavers and other planes with big lights than most guys so it isn’t like my position is unqualified.

  39. #39
    sjohnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    What’s the point in synchronizing strobe lights? Does anyone think it improves visibility? ...
    The AeroLeds mentioned by RBW above are presumably landing and taxi lights in one wing, not wingtip strobes. If they wig-wag in the same location, one is off when the other is on, and there is no effective light pulse; it's almost like having a single continuous light. Synchronizing makes them both pulse at the same time. I have these on my certified Cub, and I'm told they're quite visible.
    The modern equivalent of the phrase "lions led by donkeys" is "innovation led by lawyers".

  40. #40

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    My question was specific to strobes since a previous poster asked about it. I didn’t synch my Orion strobes because it wasn’t worth pulling a wire to do so. I figured somebody had a different opinion. In my old -12 I used a common strobe power supply so synching was easier. With independent LEDs it’s different.

    Both my planes use dual lights up front. Both flash those lights simultaneously. Conversely, I’ve seen several 206s with nose lights wig-wagging and I see them just fine, especially in a distance range that matters, for what that’s worth.

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