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

LEDs for orientation

Old 11-28-2015, 01:36 AM
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Default LEDs for orientation

Not quite the right forum, but probably the right people 'cause you guys know LEDs. Through unskillful flying, I occasionally get an aircraft just far enough away that I sometimes can't make out if it's coming or going. I have to do a turning test.

But I was wondering if I put a single high output LED on the nose or tail...would I have a chance of seeing that in daylite? For example a red rear-facing LED at the rear of the fuselage?
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Old 11-28-2015, 02:05 AM
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Doubtful you would see red. I do not know if you you can get the same LED's as Tower Lighting companies can get, but a LED Strobe is extremely bright white strobe.

Red and Green LED's are good for night flying.
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Old 11-28-2015, 02:11 AM
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If its a relatively stable plane you can "fly the dot"...

If it seems moving left push the rudder left a little. wait a few seconds and when it starts moving right then a touch of right and it will be pointed at you.

Old 2 ch sailplane trick for when the plane is WAY out there.
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Old 11-28-2015, 03:50 AM
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Yeah I suppose a strobe would be more of an eye catcher. Anyone have a link to a good performer?

"Fly the dot" is pretty similar to what I do now. I just give it right stick and if it turns right I know it's going away from me and just wait for it to come half circle and start going left.
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Old 11-28-2015, 04:14 AM
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I use the half inch 12 mil amp led bulbs from our electrical shop here. I attach it to the right length of wire with the same plug as servos and plug right into receiver. This way i do not need to figure out resistance. smaller leds need resistance. On my gliders I have them mounted on bottom in the middle. Makes a differenc (day or night) as they are very bright. If you look in a fms plane you will see the same led.
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Old 11-28-2015, 05:17 PM
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I ordered a couple of these:

Not their brightest, but their brightest don't blink. I may try them too if these don't do the job. Plan to wire it to a servo extension and plug into an unused rx channel. Mount so only can be seen to the rear.
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:54 PM
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Just be aware that with really bright LED's that you can see in the daylight, will blind you at night.

I used to run my night flyers with the LED's facing out, and honestly they would make it so it wasn't a pleasant flight as the glare got to me. I've since flipped them so they shine into the foam, it reduces the glare, and actually lights up the plane more.

Take a look at the shots here.
My Slow Stick, if you look at the reflection you can see red/green LED's, but looking at the plane all you see is a washout of white.

My Bixler2, with the LED's embedded, give off a softer glow, and more of the plane gets lit up. You can see they shine all the way through the wings.

Oh sure I have bright whites on it too, but it's for landing only, and you don't want to look at it head on or tail on as it's worse then seeing a car with it's head lights on, it will wipe out you night vision. Those last two photos are with the lights in the shop off, just the LED's doing the lighting.
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Old 12-04-2015, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Glacier Girl View Post
Just be aware that with really bright LED's that you can see in the daylight, will blind you at night. .
Thanks, but not an issue...I only fly by day.

Do you have a source (link?) for those "too-bright" LED's?

For an easy experiment, I just ordered a single-AAA CREE penlight to tape under the fuselage and see how it looks in the air at distance. Should help me dial in what I need for orientation purposes.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:57 AM
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Planes with lights look stunning.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:05 PM
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The project looks really nice! Planes with LEDs embedded on them look stunning.
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