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[October 9, 2013]


Ever since I finished up with my second landing light installation this past Sunday, I have been itching to get to the airport. Due to other obligations during the week, my first opportunity wasn't until tonight. I didn't have much of a time window - there was a slow moving reminiscence of Tropical Storm Karen working itself over our area from the gulf coast. Everywhere around was showing VFR, but I knew it wouldn't last very long.


I make it a habit of always checking WeatherMeister.com before a flight as it does an excellent job of decoding weather in the area. I noticed recently that they have added VFR charts and NEXRAD weather overlays. Very nice!!!


I needed to finish up dressing the wiring in the left wing. Once I completed that task, it was time to aim the lights. This picture shows a couple of things. Most apparently, take a look at how bright these suckers are! Secondly, you can see the general beam they show and also how I have them aimed. This was as low to the ground as I could get them. The bracket I made is hitting the outboard edge of the wingtip, so this was the best I could get. Since the tail of the airplane is up when it is flying/landing, I wanted the light to be concentrated a little on the high side.


Even though the lights are aimed high, there is a decent amount of light that is available for taxiing. I would like there to be a little more, but this isn't bad at all considering they are recessed wingtip lights.


One takeoff, once the tail comes up the lights nicely illuminate the runway.


Approaching the threshold of the runway, this is where the lights start illuminating the runway. I would say this is 500-1000' from the runway.


At about 5-10' off the runway the lights do a nice job of lighting up the runway.


And on touchdown things just keep on getting better. I am very happy with these lights. The only thing I wish was better was the light during taxiing. It's not terrible, but it's not great either. For example, I had a hard time seeing the taxiway lines and the runway turnoffs. However, I have to ask myself how often will I really fly at night? It felt great to get some night flying in, even if it was just in the pattern. It's definitely a surreal experience.

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