My SE5a build is in it's 4th year!

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SE5a

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Nov 22, 2021
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Hello, folks!
I'm building a replica SE5a from the Airdrome Aeroplanes materials kit. I have built the entire airframe, the basic landing gear, and control systems. All the control surfaces are covered and fully painted, one wing panel is in the middle of the covering process. I've "plumbed" the upper wing panels with conduits for wireing wingtip position lights - and would appreciate advice on which lights work for a LSA aircraft. Here's a couple of photos...
 

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Dana

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Any lights will work, though they'll look out of place on a SE5, you'll just have to fabricate an appropriate mount. Nothing special about lights for a LSA.
 

tralika

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Very cool plane. If it were mine I wouldn't get too carried away with lights. I installed nav lights on my Just Highlander but never fly it at night. I turn on the nav lights once a year during the condition inspection. I installed wing tip strobes, landing lights with a pulse controller and a red beacon light which I use at all times in flight. If I were building a SE5a reproduction I would only install a beacon light to comply with the requirement for an anti-collision light. The other lights will detract from the authenticity of the plane and with the low/slow aircraft mission profile I'd feel comfortable flying it.

That said the links below are to the lights I used. None are TSO, FAA approved but they work well. The red beacon light is very small. I mounted one on the top of my fuselage. I installed it without a switch so it flashes whenever the master switch is on. This is so I don't forget to turn off my master switch and run down the battery. If for some reason I want to turn it off I can just pull the fuse. I have about 160 hours on my plane now, so far I've never had a reason to do that. Those little strobes can be wired together and set up with a synchronized strobe pattern. You could put one on top and bottom of your fuselage. The Knutdzleman strobe/nav combo are good lights and pretty reasonable compared to the TSO'd competitors. I think they would look odd on your aircraft though.

I'm sure someone is going to comment that you can't use non TSO'd lights on an experimental aircraft. I'll be glad to post a copy of my Airworthiness Certificate if you would like.

Good luck with the build.


 

Dana

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I would only install a beacon light to comply with the requirement for an anti-collision light.
There is no requirement for an anti-collision light if you don't fly at night. But once installed, the regs say it must be turned on during flight.

I'm sure someone is going to comment that you can't use non TSO'd lights on an experimental aircraft. I'll be glad to post a copy of my Airworthiness Certificate if you would like.
Sure you can. But, you can't use them to fly at night unless they meet the requirements of the TSO (light intensity, viewing angle, etc.). Whelan even sells a nav/stobe set for experimentals "to improve daytime visibility" but they explicitly say they're not legal for night flight.
 

TFF

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SE5a was used as a night fighter. Lighted instruments and or radium dials were possible. They tended to drop flairs for FoF. A night flying SE5 is period correct. I think after the war it would have been possible to have position lights. I don’t know if they had landing lights, but some WW1 night planes had them.
 

cluttonfred

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Unless you really plan to fly at night, I would go with the smallest red or white LED strobe anti-collision light you can find or make yourself and install it very discreetly at the top of the rudder.
 

cluttonfred

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If you want something easy and inexpensive, these little self-contained strobe modules for emergency vehicles weigh less than 2 oz, are 1.25" tall and 1" diameter at the lens (1.5" at the base) and cost $40. You can flange mount them from the outside or through-hole mount them from the inside with just the lens sticking out. The flanges and rubber gasket for through-hole mounting are inexpensive accessories.

hide-a-way-led-strobe-light-included-parts.jpghide-a-way-led-strobe-light-back.jpghide-a-way-led-strobe-light-mounting-options.jpgmstrb-gr-attached.jpg

 
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