Jump to content
Bugstrider

lights on a Vari

Recommended Posts

Good Morning,

I was just wondering for those out there that own a Vari, how difficult would it be to retro fit a flying Vari with navigation lights for night time ops, including a possible landing light modification?  I understand that if someone was in the "build" state, this was would be much easier, however for the planes that are already constructed, is this a realistic possibility or would yo be limited to day VFR flying only?

 

I have attempted to run several different searches in the forum but have been unsuccessful in finding an answer. There is a high probability that it is user error, but I will ask anyway.

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This answer may not be reliable because I am only familiar with the Long-ez & Cozy.  They have a hole  in the foam the length of the wing where you can install wires.  At the wingtip, the builder embeds a piece of birch plywood under the glass that he can screw the wingtip light to or embeds a nutplace in in the plywood under the glass. 

Not knowing exactly what you have, I would suggest drilling a small hole in the wingtip, say 3/4"D.   Glue a magnet to a long thin stick or fiberglass rod and run it from the wing root out to the wingtip.  Probe through the hole you drilled with a steel rod to find the magnet.  With the magnet located, tie a fishing line to a steel nut  or bit of metal and push it into the wingtip hole until it contacts the magnet.  Use that to pull the fishing line back to the wing root and then pull wing-tip wires (2 wires, 20 AWG or so).  Then flox in a fitting into the wingtip that you can screw your wingtip light to, with the wires coming out beside the fitting   Be careful to keep the flox out of the fitting.  I usually wax up a screw and put it in the fitting to keep flox out.

Pretty easy really.  🙂

Edited by Kent Ashton
  • Like 1

-Kent
Cozy IV N13AM-750 hrs, Long-EZ-85 hrs and sold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Kent Ashton said:

Pretty easy really.  🙂

Nothing is easy! 🙂  But maybe that's just me -- I'm finding it harder and harder to contort enough to work inside these airplanes as I get stiffer with age.  And I know I always underestimate the scope of the project.

Seriously, don't minimize the amount of effort needed to run wiring from the spar underneath the consoles to the panel, install a suitable switch on the panel, and connect to the master bus with circuit protection.

At least the newer LED nav. lights put less load on your electrical system and don't require a location for the strobe power supply.  But there's still a possibility of RFI or other noise getting into your intercom/radio.

Have I forgotten anything?  Probably 🙂

--

Joe


Joe Dubner

Long-EZ, RV-8A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Bugstrider said:

I was just wondering for those out there that own a Vari, how difficult would it be to retro fit a flying Vari with navigation lights for night time ops, including a possible landing light modification?

I've done it on two VE's. The hardest part is drilling a hole from the wingtip to the end of the aileron cove for the wiring without drilling through the top or bottom skins. Other than that, it's just running some wires and creating hard points in the wingtip for the LED lights to mount on to. 1/2 - 1 day's work, maybe.

Landing Lights on VE's are more problematic, as there just really aren't many places to put them. A fold down one, like on the Long-EZ, could be done, or something like this:

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/pages/el/landinglights_aveo/aveo_11-18453.php

on the bottom of the fuselage, next to the nose gear wheel well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding lights is on my list of future upgrades for my VariEze. I have two options:

1) Some wiring was run back in the late 70s when it was built. But, I don't know if the wiring is good or how easily I can determine where it is located at the wing tip.

2) I can do what Marc did above. I assume he used a copper pipe with teeth as a drill???

I also assume I will need to drill a hole through the outside winglet attach layup? Can't go around it, right? Any recommendations on hole size or just keep it as small as possible?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Ron Springer said:

2) I can do what Marc did above. I assume he used a copper pipe with teeth as a drill???

First, I use the longest jobber drill I've got - maybe 2 ft, 3/8" dia. Then switch to AL tubing with teeth on the end. Doesn't work great - tends to tear the foam a bit and clog up easily. But I haven't found anything better, yet.

58 minutes ago, Ron Springer said:

I also assume I will need to drill a hole through the outside winglet attach layup? Can't go around it, right? Any recommendations on hole size or just keep it as small as possible?

No holes through primary structure. The hole I drill is from the area FWD of the LE of the winglet, where the lights will actually attach, aftward to the end of the aileron cove. Since there's no shear web in the outboard wing of a Varieze, the hole only goes through foam. I remove the aileron so that I can also drill from the aileron outboard, and pray to Cthulhu that the holes meet somewhere about 1/2 out.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 1/3/2021 at 12:10 PM, Marc Zeitlin said:

No holes through primary structure. The hole I drill is from the area FWD of the LE of the winglet, where the lights will actually attach, aftward to the end of the aileron cove. Since there's no shear web in the outboard wing of a Varieze, the hole only goes through foam.

That sure is a convenient feature of the VariEze for drilling that hole ... no spar in the way. It is probably the way to go if I do the upgrade.

I mentioned that I have pre-existing wires in the wing, but there are only two wires. I believe they are just under the skin so they are probably microed in and it won't be possible to pull new wires through the same location. There are ways to trace them where you put a tone on the wire and then use a probe to detect it. One unit is as cheap as $25 on Amazon. But, you really want four wires. I could still do it with two but the position lights and strobes would have to be turned on together and the strobes wouldn't be synchronized.

Edited by Ron Springer
typoe .. oops!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put internal bellhorns in a  Longeze.   The aluminum tube worked but was not exactly straight.   I wonder how long the hole would be in the Varieze?   Maybe I can suggest a different aluminum source for the drill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one on my Varie.  It pops down below the pilot seat.  It's on a lever that locks up and down, kind of like a cam lock.  I'll send a couple pics next time I go out for a hop.  Also, the nav/strobe LED lights are done like Mark said into the aileron well with quick disconnect so the wings can be removed.

NOTE: The lights were installed when I purchased mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I got a long length of aluminum tubing from Aircraft Spruce.  I think it was 1/4" diameter and I measured the distance from the aileron corner to the wingtip to determine the length of tubing needed.  I filed small teeth on one end of the tube.  I don't remember which side I drilled from but the length of the tube made it pretty easy to sight down and aim where it needed to go.

In the corner of the aileron cove I removed a 1"x1" (approx.) piece from the vertical shear web to gain access to the foam core.  After the cove-to-tip hole was done I drilled from the wing root to the cove corner, following the vertical shear web just inside the wing foam.

The VariEze project I bought already had the flip-down landing light installed. I don't know where that design came from (Debbie Iwatate?) but it works well.  The lever can be seen next to the nose gear crank:

spacer.png

Edited by slk23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Cmead said:

Here's some pics of the light install.

Looks exactly like mine.  I still haven't found plans for it.  I wonder if it was a Ken Brock part?

Edited by slk23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks Guys!!!!

 

This gives me hope!!! Although I do not own a Vari, I did find one in my search for a Long.  Has me thinking it would be a good introduction to the Canard family but lights would need to be a must since I would commute in it and be in the dark on one end of the flight.

 

On a side note, the one I found had some runaway rash on the lower winglet.  How hard is it to do this type of scrape and what would I be concerned with.  

 

Cheers and please keep coming.

IMG_9340.HEIC IMG_9339.HEIC IMG_9338.HEIC

Edited by Bugstrider

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

 It looks like you could sand off the paint/primer and add two plies of BID... then fill it, sand it, paint it.  I would not be concerned with just that, but you really need a pre purchase inspection by someone like Marc Z to see what other issues exist.

Edited by macleodm3

Andrew Anunson

I work underground and I play in the sky... no problem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, macleodm3 said:

 It looks like you could sand off the paint/primer and add two plies of BID... then fill it, sand it, paint it.  I would not be concerned with just that, but you really need a pre purchase inspection by someone like Marc Z to see what other issues exist.

That is what I was thinking, I just have never seen that on the lower winglet before.  I also did not know how hard it would be to strike a lower winglet on a wing like that.  I would think it would require one heck of a bank angle on landing.  Here is another angle better showing what I’m referring to.

I have been in touch with Marc on a couple of other items as well.  A pre purchase would be a must

8150C8B2-A463-4C7D-AEF9-D3B9F074B196.png

Edited by Bugstrider

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think its not all that unusual to scrape up a lower winglet.  Its not something we want to see regularly, but I won’t be surprised if I scrape up on of mine someday.


Andrew Anunson

I work underground and I play in the sky... no problem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wingtip protection is the purpose of the lower winglet on the VariEze.  It contributes little, if anything, to aerodynamics.  The larger lower winglet on the Long-EZ is a different story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, slk23 said:

Wingtip protection is the purpose of the lower winglet on the VariEze.  It contributes little, if anything, to aerodynamics.  The larger lower winglet on the Long-EZ is a different story.

Thank you for your response.  I have flying experience in a friend's Long but not a Vari.  I was wondering about the purpose since I hadn't read about an aerodynamic design on the lower winglet, (yet) and have seen some even removed.  I know that they "do" have an impact on the LongEz wing, but then again I have seen some builders/owners remove those too.

I do wonder the difficulty to have the Vari in just the right pitch and bank angle to scrape one without having a prop strike.  Just thinking along the "perfect storm" scenario.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, slk23 said:

Wingtip protection is the purpose of the lower winglet on the VariEze.  It contributes little, if anything, to aerodynamics.

The first sentence is incorrect. The Varieze was the first implementation of the "Whitcomb" winglet, and Whitcomb's original design included the small lower winglet, so when Burt adopted the Whitcomb design, he included the lower winglet as well.

As it turns out, unless you're cruising around at the Max. L/D speed (which we never do, because it's very slow or unless you're very high), it does, in fact, contribute little to aerodynamics. But the lower winglet was NOT put there as physical protection, but as an aerodynamic feature.

With the anhedral in Varieze wings, runway contact of the lower winglet is not unknown, but is purely a cosmetic issue, as the lower winglet is not structural.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Marc Zeitlin said:

The first sentence is incorrect. The Varieze was the first implementation of the "Whitcomb" winglet, and Whitcomb's original design included the small lower winglet, so when Burt adopted the Whitcomb design, he included the lower winglet as well.

As it turns out, unless you're cruising around at the Max. L/D speed (which we never do, because it's very slow or unless you're very high), it does, in fact, contribute little to aerodynamics. But the lower winglet was NOT put there as physical protection, but as an aerodynamic feature.

With the anhedral in Varieze wings, runway contact of the lower winglet is not unknown, but is purely a cosmetic issue, as the lower winglet is not structural.

 

Regardless of the original intention, the lower winglet serves almost no aerodynamic purpose, as you acknowledge.  It does, however, provide physical protection from a wing strike.  So I stand by my statement that its purpose (now) is the latter.  If you're not worried about hitting the wingtip then remove the lower winglet as many have done (speaking about the VariEze only). 

By the way, assuming that data was available at the time, it seems likely Burt knew that the lower winglet wouldn't contribute much aerodynamically in normal operations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found this landing light assembly for sale years back in a classified add.  I can't seem to find this being offered on any suppliers that I have checked so far.  Does anyone know was this a product a custom deal that a forum member was making and offering to the group?
 
Thanks

24A32AF4-6923-4D3A-B5A8-A9B3060888D6.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bugstrider said:

Found this landing light assembly for sale years back in a classified add.  I can't seem to find this being offered on any suppliers that I have checked so far.  Does anyone know was this a product a custom deal that a forum member was making and offering to the group?
 
Thanks

24A32AF4-6923-4D3A-B5A8-A9B3060888D6.png

I believe that's the one I bought a year or two ago. It's the same picture that I saved.

I'm going to do lights as well, all LED and very basic electrical system. I haven't really done any planning/research but I'm considering a battery and solar panel, just like the original design.

Landing light kit.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that is where I found the picture, a classified add from 2017 I think.  It is the only picture I have run across so far the shows components an all the bits.  I was hoping to be able to find some details on the kit but have hit a wall everywhere I have searched so far.  Even the older posts I have read with links to suppliers have lead to a dead end with the infamous "404 Error".

I am glad someone was able to pick this one up rather than it getting tossed into a bin due to nobody wanting it.  I asked the seller if it was still available but knew that was a long shot due tot the age of the original post.

My search goes on, although I have looked at the external ones that Marc Z. recommended.  I just don't know what the extra drag would be on something like that or if it would even matter.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Bryan Dover said:

LongEz plan image a.jpg

Bryan,

Thank you!!! that is the first diagram I have seen.

 

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


The Canard Zone

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information