Are landing lights worthwhile?

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SVSUSteve

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So if you're going to do them, put 'em out on the wingtip or some other location where even the side-scatter can't reflect off the prop back into your eyes.
There's also the issue of back scatter in actual IMC (not specifically pertinent here but figure I will mention it here for the sake of someone who might have to do a let down through IMC some time) which can reduce visibility. That's one reason why a lot of training for ILS operations (especially the CAT II and CAT III varieties) involves leaving the landing lights off until the runway environment is in sight.
 

bmcj

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Back and side scatter are why there's an on/off switch. (OK, it's not the only reason, or even the main reason, but it is there.)
 

Dan Thomas

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You mention installing it/them in the wing. From my experience, just as many aircraft install a landing light in the nose under the engine. Greater risk of stone chip damage, but I feel it has a greater chance of providing useful illumination in that location. Also shorter wiring runs, less chance of compromising the strength of the wing, etc, etc. And it is a decision that is easier to reverse if you don't like it.

Just my 2c.

Grelly
Landing lights in the cowl have a far shorter life than in the leading edge. The vibration fatigues the filament. As a mechanic that used to look after several flight school airplanes, most with the light in the cowl and a few in the wing, I was forever changing the cowl-mounted lights. If I was building an airplane I would avoid the cowl mount altogether.

I installed several of the Whelen LED landing lights a little over a year ago. Great stuff, but not cheap yet.

Dan
 

cvairwerks

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What I would do, while my wings were under construction, is go on and install the bay for the landing light as well as run conduit from the root to the bay and from the root to the wingtip in anticipation of installing them at a later time. Go on and install the basic frame for the landing light and the cover nutplates, but make a blind cover instead of the plex one. Gasket work is pretty easy to seal against rain intrusion. Drill the panel for the breakers and switches, but use blind covers for now. In the event you decide to add the lights, you are only down a few hours to install the wiring and light assemblies rather than weeks because you don't have to open up the wing to do the structural work and add the wiring runs. It will cost you a little bit of weight, but counter that by how much time it would take to go back and retrofit from scratch.

Look at how Russ and Eric did theirs for some good ideas.
 

Detego

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... What I would do
... go on and install the bay for the landing light
... run conduit from the root to the bay and from the root to the wingtip
... install the basic frame for the landing light and the cover nutplates
... make a blind cover instead of the plex one.
... Drill the panel for the breakers and switches
... In the event you decide to add the lights, you are only down a few hours to install
... It will cost you a little bit of weight


I say install your 'landing lights' but don't use them! :think:
 

Dan Thomas

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I say install your 'landing lights' but don't use them! :think:
Night flying is some of the nicest flying. I haven't done it for a long time, not being at the flight school anymore and have a day/VFR-only airplane now, but I really enjoyed the trips I took at night.

Dan
 

bmcj

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As far as mounting location, I've even seen one design that had landing lights mounted in the nose of the wheelpant.
 

SVSUSteve

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Night flying is some of the nicest flying. I haven't done it for a long time, not being at the flight school anymore and have a day/VFR-only airplane now, but I really enjoyed the trips I took at night.
I love flying at night. The scenery is often really cool, there's usually less traffic and it's usually easier to spot. Flying at night is one of the few times where I feel any of the "magic" of flying that people talk about that makes them want to fly.
 

Dan Thomas

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As far as mounting location, I've even seen one design that had landing lights mounted in the nose of the wheelpant.
Probably the worst possible place. Nosewheels really get the worst of it on rough ground, and they do tend to shimmy sometimes. The Cessna nosewheel pant is the one that you can' find, because they're all shaken to bits.

Many retractables put them on the nosegear strut, well away from the moving parts.

Dan
 

bmcj

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Probably the worst possible place. Nosewheels really get the worst of it on rough ground, and they do tend to shimmy sometimes. The Cessna nosewheel pant is the one that you can' find, because they're all shaken to bits.
They were in the pants for the mains. I agree though that impact jarring and vibration can be worse there than in the wing.
 
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