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Thread: Lights required for night flight?

  1. #1

    Lights required for night flight?

    I'm working on the lights for my Wag Aero 2+2 and am trying to understand the requirements for night flight. I will have a White position light on the lower part of the rudder; upper fuselage mounted White strobe, and Red and Green position lights on the wing tips. I am also mounting a landing light ine each wing tip. Will this give me proper lighting for night flight? Also, the used lights I picked up have blue rather than green lenses; Are these ok to use?

    Thanks,
    Marty

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Landing lights are not required unless you're in a for hire operation, which you won't be on an experimental. You can install them if you like. All you need are the three navigation (red left wing, green right wing, white tail). The requirements for anticollision lights (beacons, strobes) are written into the certification rules so they don't apply to homebuilts, though it might not be a bad idea to have them.

    Your right position light must be AVIATION GREEN. Blue will NOT cut it. However, check it while it's illuminated. Sometimes the lenses don't really show their true color when they're not lit.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyfeehan View Post
    I'm working on the lights for my Wag Aero 2+2 and am trying to understand the requirements for night flight. I will have a White position light on the lower part of the rudder; upper fuselage mounted White strobe, and Red and Green position lights on the wing tips. I am also mounting a landing light ine each wing tip. Will this give me proper lighting for night flight? Also, the used lights I picked up have blue rather than green lenses; Are these ok to use?

    Thanks,
    Marty
    There is a new interpretation letter out about lighting for night flying and experimental aircraft. I can't attach it from this computer but I'll email it to you when I get home.
    There are no "pre-approved" lighting options. My suggestions is just equip the airplane as you think necessary to comply with 91.205 and go for it.

    BTW, a green lens sometimes looks blue when not illuminated. Is that what you are referring too?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Landing lights are not required unless you're in a for hire operation, which you won't be on an experimental. You can install them if you like.
    That is correct. A good set of landing lights can be very useful, required or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    All you need are the three navigation (red left wing, green right wing, white tail). The requirements for anticollision lights (beacons, strobes) are written into the certification rules so they don't apply to homebuilts, though it might not be a bad idea to have them.
    This is NOT correct. 91.205(c)(3) explicitly calls for an anti-collision lighting system (which strobes/beacons are), and the current Op-Limits for EAB aircraft explicitly states that the aircraft must be equipped per 91.205 for night or IFR flight.

    So strobes/beacons are absolutely required if your OL's state 91.205 compliance is necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Your right position light must be AVIATION GREEN. Blue will NOT cut it. However, check it while it's illuminated. Sometimes the lenses don't really show their true color when they're not lit.
    That is correct.

    Next, since "APPROVED" position lights are required per 91.205, you'll need to go read up on FAR 23.1385 - 23.1397, where position light requirements are defined, and then 23.1401 where the anti-collision lighting requirements are defined.

    You will need to mount the lights so that they have exposure in the directions required by these FAR's. If you purchase approved lights, they will have the correct colors and intensities - it will just be the mounting position that will be up to you to determine.

    Marty - Your description of strobe mounting is insufficient - the strobe only on the top of the fuselage does NOT meet the requirements for vertical distribution, since it cannot be viewed from below the aircraft. Depending upon exactly where on the wingtips and tail you mount the position lights, you MAY be in compliance for the POS lights.

  5. #5
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Marc is right, of course. I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote the part about the anticollision light.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    ?.. I don't know what I was thinking ...
    If I had a nickel from every time I've said that :-).

  7. #7
    Ok, thanks guys for the input; I have some reading to do. I'll check out the "blue" to see if it's really green. As for strobes; I bought a really nice bright LED strobe that I can mount on top of the fuselage and I'll get a second one and mount it on the belly. So two strobes, rear rudder white, red and green position lights should work? I am installing landing lights, one each wing. I bought LED lights to use for landing lights that fit standard housings and are very bright. Does this sound ok?????

    I do have a build web site; it's at www.marty2plus2.com

    Thanks,
    Marty

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyfeehan View Post
    I bought a really nice bright LED strobe that I can mount on top of the fuselage and I'll get a second one and mount it on the belly. So two strobes, rear rudder white, red and green position lights should work?
    "Work" is one thing - "Legal" is another. While it's unlikely that the FAA or DAR inspecting your project will be a nut about the lighting system, I know of at least one COZY builder who was made to remove the "non-approved" lights from his aircraft before getting his Airworthiness Certificate.

    Since you haven't said what strobe you have purchased or whether it's "approved" (TSO'd is really the only way to be officially "approved", unless you've got all the specs for the light showing that it meets the standards, and even then, there's no guarantee, as my COZY friend found out), it's hard to say whether what you have will "work", legally.

    Same with the POS lights. You could get a DAR/FAA inspector that has a bug up his butt about "approved" lighting.

    Generally, when I do Tech Counselor inspections for folks, I tell them to either leave all lighting off their aircraft for the AC inspection, and then use their judgement with respect to the OL's requirements per 91.205 for installing lights later on, or else just get TSO'd lighting systems so there's no question one way or the other for the inspection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyfeehan View Post
    I am installing landing lights, one each wing. I bought LED lights to use for landing lights that fit standard housings and are very bright. Does this sound ok?????
    You can use any electric light for landing lights per 91.205 - there's no requirement for brightness or particular technology. No tallow candles, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyfeehan View Post
    I do have a build web site; it's at www.marty2plus2.com
    Nice looking work - after 3K hours building a COZY MKIV (and 2200 hours on a Q2 back in the day), I can't imagine how much work it is to build a wooden plane...

    Keep at it.

  9. #9
    Interesting comment about TSO's lighting. There seems to be a lot of non TSO'd electrical and instruments in use on EAB aircraft. What about a builder who uses an auto conversion in their aircraft? The starter and alternator from a Subaru or VW is not TSO'd but is allowed. I don't see how one item needs to be TSO's on EAB but not another. Can you give me any FAR's that state the requirement for TSO'ed equipment in an EAB? There seems to be a lot of very confusing information out there. I took a look at the LED lighting sold by Aircraft Spruce. The majority of the listings are listed "for Experimental use only, not FAA approved". I don't think their catalog would be full of lighting options not allowed on EAB aircraft. Seems to me that the DAR who disapproved of the Cozy using non TSO'd items was overstepping their authority.

    Marty

    Marty

  10. #10
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    In the general case, TSOs are neither NECESSARY nor SUFFICIENT to cover the installation in any aircraft. While I suspect no inspector is going to get worked up over you using a TSO'd light, it's not strictly required.

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