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Thread: Yet another lighting thread

  1. #1

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    Yet another lighting thread

    Iím flying a stock certified 1978 PA-18 150 with the original lights, and I am ready to make my plane more visible. I was looking at the Whelen and AeroLED lights at the Palmer show today and Iím considering my options. I have tried reading the various threads on here, but each situation seems so unique that it makes it difficult to know what to do. My priorities are wingtip and tail strobes, and I would like something that can drop straight in without any sort of modifications. I am not planning on re-covering my wings anytime soon, so want to keep things as simple as possible. I understand that I can go with non-certified lights with a logbook entry from my mechanic, but Iím not sure whether that is the wisest option. Realistically, money is a concern as there are some other upgrades I would like to make and my funds are not unlimited.

    I was quoted $1332 for the Whelen Orion 650 wingtip strobe/position lights and the 550 tail light. But I also know that I have seen threads on here showing far less expensive options that have a strobe controlled by flipping the switch on and off. I know that nothing is cheap in aviation and that you often get what you pay for, but at the same time Iím also trying to set aside enough money for a helmet and headset combo. Priorities, right? Anyhow, I would appreciate any insight that you all can offer. Thanks!

  2. #2
    nanook's Avatar
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    What did the AeroLED cost? I know they have a very bright tail beacon. If you have the rudder mount beacon already, I would just replace that and put two wingtip nav/strobes in and call it good.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by nanook View Post
    What did the AeroLED cost? I know they have a very bright tail beacon. If you have the rudder mount beacon already, I would just replace that and put two wingtip nav/strobes in and call it good.
    Didnít get a quote on the beacon. Good call, though. Thanks.

  4. #4

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    My current setup:






  5. #5
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Does the wheelen tail nav strobe fit in the tail? I remember that being an issue. The aero led sun tail fits with no issue. The aero led landing lights can be bought with built in pulse.


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  6. #6
    Mush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Does the wheelen tail nav strobe fit in the tail? I remember that being an issue. The aero led sun tail fits with no issue. The aero led landing lights can be bought with built in pulse.
    This was posted not long ago. Whelen has a new one that will fit in the tail.
    Whelen 14V Model Orion 550 OR5501V 14V LED Tail Strobe/Position Light
    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...ghlight=whelen

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mush View Post
    This was posted not long ago. Whelen has a new one that will fit in the tail.
    Whelen 14V Model Orion 550 OR5501V 14V LED Tail Strobe/Position Light
    https://www.supercub.org/forum/showt...ghlight=whelen
    Yep, that was the one I was looking at as part of my quote.

  8. #8
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Most nav/strobe combos have separate power wires for each, so you can use switches for each function. No matter what model you go with you are going to need to pull new wiring in.

    Web
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  9. #9
    stewartb's Avatar
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    I have Orions on my wingtips and I like them. When I built it the Whelen tail strobe required cutting the mount on the rudder so I used an Aveo tail unit. My beacon was what I shopped most to find the brightest one available. I chose a Whelen. I know some guys object to beacons but I’m a fan, especially for being seen by faster airplanes from behind. Beacon and strobe are a very effective combination.

    I know LED is all the rage but there’s still something to be said for Whelen’s Comet Flash strobes. Hands down to best recognition strobes I’ve seen.

  10. #10
    stewartb's Avatar
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    To the wiring question? With LED low current draw for retrofitting position lights I’d think the position lights and strobes could be powered together providing you never want to select just one. I always use strobes and rarely use position lights but there’s nothing wrong with running them in daylight.

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    It is really impolite to taxi on a busy airport with strobes on.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    To the wiring question? With LED low current draw for retrofitting position lights Iíd think the position lights and strobes could be powered together providing you never want to select just one. I always use strobes and rarely use position lights but thereís nothing wrong with running them in daylight.
    At this point Iím thinking Iíll probably pull a new wire for an additional switch, but the Whelen rep explained how I can hook these in to my existing system as long as I donít care about running both.

    And no, I wonít run the strobes while taxiing. Appreciate the point from others.

  13. #13
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    At this point I’m thinking I’ll probably pull a new wire for an additional switch, but the Whelen rep explained how I can hook these in to my existing system as long as I don’t care about running both.

    And no, I won’t run the strobes while taxiing. Appreciate the point from others.
    Get some 20 gauge, three conductor, shielded wire. Pull that into the wings and fuselage. One conductor powers the strobes, one conductor powers the navs, one conductor is the synch control, and the shield is the ground. Just as easy to pull a multi conductor wire as a single conductor and then you'll have all the functions available.

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  14. #14
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    I just recently installed AeroLED NSP, Sun tail, and Sun Beacon. I'm very impressed with the upgrade in visibility over stock lights. Are you trying to use existing wires for your installation? For my installation i ran new shielded 3 conductor so i could sync the strobes as well as have my strobe and navs on separate circuits. Pulling the new cable through the wings was a major pain in the ass but we got all new cables pulled in about three hours with some fish tape. The other issue i had was securing the sun tail. The screws provided were too small for the existing nut plates. It was a difficult but I was able to attach smaller nuts to the back of the existing plates. Even though the new installation was such a pain in the ass, I'd still do it again in a heartbeat.Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
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    Rudder beacon mount

    Hi everyone. I'm assembling parts to build an experimental Javron PA18 where the rudder doesn't have a beacon mount fitted. I was looking at Univair's products and noticed they have 2 types of mounts.... A metal and a fiberglass unit. Is the fiberglass unit a fairing for the metal one? or are these two completely different mounts? I assume the metal one is welded to the rudder and you fair this in whilst covering or do they attach in another way?

    Thanks!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #16
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  17. #17
    KJC's Avatar
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    They are completely different. The fiberglass one is the Atlee Dodge mount. Accepts primer and paint easily. You mount it by using two blind rivets. Easy.
    PA-12 N418BS

  18. #18
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    If I was building new I would use the weld on kit with an LED beacon. The last Super Cub I rebuilt the owner wanted the beacon on the rudder. I was apprehensive because it had 3 position strobes. After installing the Whelen LED strobe on the tail and getting the rebuild finished I was impressed. It really stands out in the day. I now own that Super Cub and am glad it is installed having survived a mid-air I want to be seen.
    Steve Pierce

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  19. #19
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    What makes that ugly big beacon necessary if you have wing and tail strobes? I don't have a beacon on my FX-3 and don't miss it a bit.

  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It isn't, I am just impressed how it stands out in bright sunlight.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://photos.app.goo.gl/Pw9U21fAJwX96f2e6
    Steve Pierce

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  21. #21
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    What makes that ugly big beacon necessary if you have wing and tail strobes? I don't have a beacon on my FX-3 and don't miss it a bit.
    Actually, the point isnt whether YOU miss it, it’s whether you miss getting HIT. To each his own, however.

    MTV
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  22. #22

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    Why can’t you put a simple tail strobe on top? It would look a lot better when parked, and probably throw off at least as much light.

  23. #23
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Actually, the point isnt whether YOU miss it, itís whether you miss getting HIT. To each his own, however.
    Do you have any data to support the implied assertion that a beacon is more visible the triple LED strobes?

  24. #24
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    Do you have any data to support the implied assertion that a beacon is more visible the triple LED strobes?
    My own eyes watching it fly in the light of day.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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  25. #25
    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    My own eyes watching it fly in the light of day.
    What beacon is that? I looked up "whelen tail beacon' and there are multiple ones. I for one am all about visibility. I would rather be lit up like a christmas tree versus ADSB. I need to get with one of the local 180 owners and see what he has, I am not sure what lights he has on his plane, but I can spot him miles out from ANY direction day or night when he flips the switch. Others with crappy lights can be hard to spot close up in the pattern.

  26. #26
    sjohnson's Avatar
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    I replaced a Aeroflash xenon-bulb strobe on the tailpost with an AeroLeds beacon. Other pilots say that it is very visible. My own non-scientific testing shows that it is much more noticeable. I think it is a combination of brightness plus a much longer duty cycle (on time). It's easy to blink or scan over a brief strobe. If I had to choose one or the other, I would choose the LED beacon. Probably the best is a combination of both.
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
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  27. #27
    tackdog's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the good suggestions. I fly from a non towered airport with a busy airline academy / international students. LEDs from all directions often help breakdown the language barriers joining our circuit!

  28. #28
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Glenn told me he really liked my aero led strobes when in formation.


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  29. #29
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akavidflyer View Post
    What beacon is that? I looked up "whelen tail beacon' and there are multiple ones. I for one am all about visibility. I would rather be lit up like a christmas tree versus ADSB. I need to get with one of the local 180 owners and see what he has, I am not sure what lights he has on his plane, but I can spot him miles out from ANY direction day or night when he flips the switch. Others with crappy lights can be hard to spot close up in the pattern.
    Looks like mine. Whelen 71080. Way brighter than the competition when I compared them side by side.
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  30. #30
    stewartb's Avatar
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    I still think the most effective strobes on the market are the old school Whelen Comet Flash type. Those four rapid fire birsts get your attention better than a single pulse. That said? My Cessna still has old single flash whelens with individual power supplies and a 70509 flasher at the beacon. If it ain’t broke? Don’t fix it. The Cub has Whelen Orions. They work fine.

  31. #31
    CamTom12's Avatar
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    Iíve got some 4 pulse whelen strobes that I love. I thought about switching to LEDs but never saw anything that seemed as eye-catching.

  32. #32
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    Besides strobes / beacons, landing lights can make a big difference in being seen.
    Here in the Puget Sound area, Kenmore's floatplanes have been equipped with wigwag lights for years,
    you can really see them coming from a long ways off.
    Wigwags are effective when landing lights are widely separated (as in mounted in both wings),
    but right next to each other not so much.
    I have the factory standard double landing/taxi lights in the LH wing of my 180,
    I have an LED bulb in one wired through a flasher which I always have on while in flight.
    I've had other pilots tell me that it really helps them see me.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  33. #33
    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Besides strobes / beacons, landing lights can make a big difference in being seen.
    Here in the Puget Sound area, Kenmore's floatplanes have been equipped with wigwag lights for years,
    you can really see them coming from a long ways off.
    Wigwags are effective when landing lights are widely separated (as in mounted in both wings),
    but right next to each other not so much.
    I have the factory standard double landing/taxi lights in the LH wing of my 180,
    I have an LED bulb in one wired through a flasher which I always have on while in flight.
    I've had other pilots tell me that it really helps them see me.
    I have LED landing and taxi lights in each wing as well an ALWAYS have them on wigwag. I had my brother take it around the pattern so I could see it and yeah, the wigwag is the way to go for visibility from the front. Same with my brother in his 170, head on we can see each other great, from any other angle, not so much. If I can get a brighter light on the tail I will be happy. Heading over to Spruce to get the one Stewart posted.

  34. #34
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    The beacon I have been using on the late model PA18 rudder is the Whelen 7108051.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  35. #35
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Cessnas with dual nose lights and Cubs with underside mounted lights like mine work great with flashers. My MaxPulse is set to both at 44 pulses per minute and I'm told I'm visible for miles in both planes. I can increase the rate but 44 appears to be the most effective to me. I see plenty of wing lights and nose lights and they all get my attention well ahead of any conflict distance.
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  36. #36
    sjohnson's Avatar
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    If it helps, here is a photo of the AeroLeds beacon.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
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  37. #37
    Randy's Avatar
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    By "pulling wire" through the wings..
    Is it possible to position the wire on top of the spar web with the spring clips, or is it placed in front of the spar, or behind it.
    I have a full wrap leading edge.

  38. #38
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    If you have the leading edge on or fabric on, run the wire along the back of the center web of the spar. There is room for the wire and also for a flexible 'fishing pole' to help with installation.

    Web
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