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Thread: airplane lights?

  1. #1
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    Default airplane lights?

    I live in the city and i constantly see airplanes fly-by at night with their headlights on?

    2 questions. WHY do airplanes nead headlights other than for take-off and landing? I can imagine the importance of blinking lights at night...but why headlight?

    And what kind of lights do they use? BOY are they bright!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Many years ago, when I was a teenager I replaced my high beams (back when cars had the old yellowish sealed beam quad mounts)with aircraft landing lights. They were 13 volts, and I had to adjust the engine idle speed up a little to keep the battery up while idling.

    Needless to say, if I didn't cut the brights off way way in advance, then oncoming traffic was blinded and would pull off to the side of the road to see what in the hell was coming. One night I got a ticket for having them!!!!

    Out on open stretches these babies were blinding. Oh, BTW you could light a cigarette (I prefer cigars) right off the glass lenses after being on for only a short while.

    To look really cool, I sprayed them a light blue to look really cool!!!!!

    Those were the good 'ole days. Wine women cigars song ( and once in a while another form of smokes!)

    James

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Yup, they are called, ACL's or aircraft landing lights. I had 8 of them on the front of my car, oh, where was that pic... Here it is



    I had to add 2 105 amp batteries and an extra alternator. Although I never turned them on with other cars around, great for flaying football at night in a field [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Thanks for the memories!

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brock:
    Yup, they are called, ACL's or aircraft landing lights. I had 8 of them on the front of my car, oh, where was that pic... Here it is

    I had to add 2 105 amp batteries and an extra alternator. Although I never turned them on with other cars around, great for flaying football at night in a field [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    that is quite the pimp mobile, brock =)...

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] WOW [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
    ...i'm speachless....


    Where did you get those lights? How much do they cost? Do cops say anything to you? How do you prevent them from being stolen or vandalized?

    sheesh...sorry for asking question like a little child...but golly, it looks like a rolling Christmas tree! haha. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    nice car but watch I'd those dips!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    LOL, that was the car I had in High school, a nice big 21 foot Pontiac Catalina, with a 450 small block. I bought it when it had 165,000 miles on it and took care of it until the transmission went at 247,000. Anyway the lights were a problem with steep driveways, but they normally rode 18" from the ground (the legal limit at the time). I also had to have them covered while on the road (I rarely did that). I did get pulled over and he made me put the covers on them. I did get asked by the police to light up an area in an accident and happily obliged, they spent more time looking at my car and asking questions then trying to figure out what happened. I never had them vandalized, but I did worry about it. I got each one for about $25 from a local supply place.

    On a side note since I had two marine batteries in the trunk I regularly would jump start peoples cars from my trunk, and had a pre-attached jumper-cables. I also had a 2400w inverter for running 120v loads. Way to much stuff in the car.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    even with all that stuff it probably wasn't as heavy as my 1970 Sedan DeVille. It cost me nearly $5 in gas just to go down to the minimart four miles away. Parallel parking was like a high school science project, and to close the hood you had to sort of fly through the air coming down precisely on the V thing while trying to land rightside up and not get killed. It hit the ground all the time even without any landing lights. Boy am I glad they started downsizing. That car is why I have only pickup trucks now.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Hey Brock, it sounded like you had the ultimate survivor car, or roadside asstance car. Kinda like what i wanna do when i get myself a truck....in the FAR future.

    ahh...i can imagine myself in my raised Ford F350 with ACL's on the roof....yeeehaa!

  11. #11

    Default Re: airplane lights?

    I'd like to have a couple of these landing lights mounted on my rear bumper, then I'd zot the SOBs that tailgate and keep their brights on my butt at nighttime!!!!!!! [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/mad.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dim Bulb:
    I'd like to have a couple of these landing lights mounted on my rear bumper, then I'd zot the SOBs that tailgate and keep their brights on my butt at nighttime!!!!!!! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Right on! Think we could get away with it (and not cause those dumba$$s to crash)?!!! [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    I was thinking of putting some of that light wire stuff on the back to say "Get off my Butt!", but they would probably tail me just to find out what it said - d'oh! [img]images/icons/mad.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

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    Flashaholic* DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dim Bulb:
    I'd like to have a couple of these landing lights mounted on my rear bumper, then I'd zot the SOBs that tailgate and keep their brights on my butt at nighttime!!!!!!! [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/mad.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Ummm... if Brock were behind you in that car, that would be pretty hard to top. Maybe a mirror would be a better choice. I thought everyone knew the rearview mirror trick.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    My baby brother had a 71 Challenger with a set of landing lights. It was much fun to let someone with highbeams following you. Just allow them to pass and then tail em with those puppies on till they went nuts.

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Take one of those lights, wire it up onto a cigarette lighter plug, and you get a nice spotlight.

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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Originally posted by star882:
    Take one of those lights, wire it up onto a cigarette lighter plug, and you get a nice spotlight.
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">star, get serious.
    Originally posted by 007:

    Oh, BTW you could light a cigarette (I prefer cigars) right off the glass lenses after being on for only a short while.
    <font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">

  17. #17

    Default Re: airplane lights?

    In response to LEDagent's original question back in the beginning of this thread ...

    Snip ON - Author Topic: airplane lights?
    LEDagent

    - posted 11-27-2001 06:08 PM I live in the city and i constantly see airplanes fly-by at night with their headlights on?

    2 questions. WHY do airplanes nead headlights other than for take-off and landing? I can imagine the importance of blinking lights at night...but why headlight?

    And what kind of lights do they use? BOY are they bright!

    Snip OFF

    Just a moment . . . Putting on CFI hat here -Certificated Flight Instructor-

    LEDagent,

    ?#1
    You appear to be referring to the aircraft's landing light. Yes, typically these are normally thought of as being used for takeoff and landing.

    These are also much easier to distinguish from the lower wattage navigation lighting -FWIW same general configuration as on boats, red = left, green = right, white = rear-.

    The landing lights, and on bigger aircraft, the taxi lights as well are used for collision avoidance. During flight training with my students, I generally take a moment on night flight orientation/training to show them just how far away the landing lights can be seen versus just the nav lighting. This makes a major difference in metropolitan areas that have much light pollution from city lights/highways etc. particularily when the observed aircraft is relatively close to the ground.

    Many times it is virtually impossible to pick out aircraft from the "light clutter". Before the advent of strobe lights marking airspace obstructions and larger radio towers, it was a bit easier to see the flashing "anticollision white and/or red strobe beacons on the planes, but... [img]graemlins/bluesigh.gif[/img]

    Airlines typically will have their landing/taxi lighting on very early in the approach to landing process. Many times traveling 20 plus miles with them on before landing, and the same for takeoffs. When you're traveling at anywhere from 80 to well over 250 mph indicated airspeed in two aircraft you can have a VERY RAPID rate of closure as can be seen by adding the speed of both aircraft, particularily if they are approaching on rapidly converging courses.

    So, a 500 mph closure speed = how many seconds of travel time to travel the total distance of, oh lets say 25 miles to use a night of good visibility and expecting our two intrepid captains to see each other at relatively the same time? Then there is reaction time to consider.
    [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]

    It may take 7 to 12 seconds of reaction time to actually determine that you are looking at an approaching aircraft due to the fact that if it is really coming at you, it will have very little apparent motion relative to those inside the cockpits looking out the window at it. Hmmm, hey is it a plane or is it a star? "... [img]graemlins/twak.gif[/img] hey Joe!, lookit 12 o'clock, between the horizon and that funky cloud ..." ticktock, ticktock more reaction time... [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    Sorry, CFI hat off now [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    Basically its the same thing now with the ever more prevelant use of automotive Daytime Running Lights or DRL's which automatically turn on the cars headlights when the engine is started.

    ?#2
    Can't really speak about the airline landing lights, but the smaller planes that I deal with use either 12 or 24 volt systems and a reflector type lamp about 3-4" diameter.

    My experience is that they have a lamp life of about 15-25 hours of operation, depending upon how many bounces the pilots make in their landings, as well as the amount of vibration in the particular lamp location.

    Filament orientation makes a difference as well, generally horizontally oriented filaments seem to last longer than those oriented vertically.

    There are some aftermarket light flasher kits which have been through the FAA approval process that allow the landing/taxi lamps to be flash. These also make a marked difference in the recognition distances both day and nightime.

    There are some relatively recent developments in the use of HID lighting in general aviation aircraft as well, and I've seen ads for LED'S as nav lamps, although I have not personally been close to either the HID or LED lamps in these two applications.

    FWIW there has been a marked increase in sales booths at the Lakeland flyin for electroluminescent and LED cockpit/instrumentation lighting. [img]graemlins/icon14.gif[/img]

    Hope this helps.
    LH

  18. #18
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    How would you go about mounting these bad boys, or where can i get a housing for it?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    Let me add my 2 cents:

    Company policy generally requires landing lights on as soon as you are cleared lower from cruise level. Most of my airline buddies I believe have to have it on by 10,000 feet if not by that higher flight level from cruise. Mainly a collision avoidance thing going to the airport and a nice way to tell the birds that you are there and get out of the way when you are lower around 3,000 feet above the ground....especially on final approach. Since Al Gore's little earth fest during the Clinton years birds strikes have been on the rise. Generally the flying public won't even hear about it unless it happens on takeoff and you have to come back around and land or ditch in the river like they did in New York a month or so back. Hitting a couple of birds during landing gets your attention but during takeoff, birds can be a real threat to life.

    So the taxi light is only for taxi on the ground so if you see a light on a airplane in the air, it's the landing light or lights. I fly a 707 so I have one landing/taxi light on the nose and have a landing light and a separate taxi light on each wing. Most commercial and large military planes are the same.

    As to the light. My nose gear landing/taxi light is PAR36 and the wing lights are PAR46. Pretty much standard stuff. Brackets are available from most lighting companies that carry these types of lights and I think most of the large lanterns that you get at WalMart and car parts places are the same sizes. I am looking at my POB and I think it's PAR36 and those big Vector brand spotlights are PAR46. If you search on the incan forum or the homemade lights forums a couple of guys have modded those type lights with landing lights.

    Be warned. Some of those lights go up to 1000 watts and most all of those big lights take 28 volts. You will need 3 12 volt batteries and some way to regulate the voltage or multiple NiMH or LiIon batteries to get that 28 volts or so. Like I said, it's been worked out with more than a few successful examples by CPF members here.

    Smaller aircraft landing lights will be maybe 400 watts max with I believe 250 being considered powerful. Alot of the small aircraft industry has been doing work on HID and other types of lighting because frankly it takes alot less juice to power a 250 watt HID than it does a plain old 250 watt incan bulb. A smaller generator means less weight which means more mileage out of that 5 dollar a gallon "special" gas.

    Bob E.
    TF 3W Lux,TF 3 W Cree,Fenix L2D-CE, Fenix L2T,Fenix P1D,Fenix P3D-CE w/3x123 tactical body,P3D-CE Q5 w/2x123 tact bdy,3D & 3C Mag w/Malkoff,Modded ROV Swivel Sportsman with KPR112 bulb & 3xCR123

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: airplane lights?

    The newbs dredge up the most interesting threads (2001?!)..

    These aircraft lights seem like a lot of hassle; I'd think an HID assembly would be at least as bright and a lot easier to work with. Especially when there are complete ready-to-go kits available, like the GoLight: http://www.magnalight.com/pc-2030-40...2800-beam.aspx

  21. #21

    Default Re: airplane lights?

    My flight instuctor use to tell me (tongue in cheek), that landing lights were useful if you had an engine failure while flying a single engine aircraft at night...the proceedure is:
    Pick a spot to land, set up your normal landing configuration, then when about 100 ft off the ground you turn on your landing lights...if you LIKE what you see, then you leave them ON...If you DON"T LIKE what you see, then you turn them OFF!!

    Oh, and I also had a set of 13v Landing lights on my VW Rabbit when I was in college....I wonder why my electrical system kept screwing up?

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