Please help me learn about LED landing lights

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Vance Breese, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    I am trying to learn about par 36 led landing lights for my experimental aircraft.

    I am currently using 100 watt halogen lights.

    I would like a useful light output although I seldom fly at night.

    I like the wig wag feature to increase people’s ability to see my aircraft during the day.

    The light output seems to vary widely as does the price.

    How many lumens do I need?

    I purchased some led spot lights at an auto parts store and light output was mediocre and they didn’t last long.

    Please help me to make an intelligent purchase this time.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Administrator Management Council Member

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    To come close to halogen lights you'll have to spend big money on the upper end LED lights. I'd recommend the Whelen Parmetheus PRO, or the AeroLED Sunspots.
     
  3. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here's what I did:



    Several years later they still work well as seen in this short video during take off and the landing approach:

     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  4. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    Anything is brighter and longer lasting than the GE4509s. The parmetheus plus is 4800 lumens, consumes less than 1.5A, and will last a long time. I just replaced my GE4509 and it is a huge upgrade.
     
  5. DGlaeser

    DGlaeser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I recently replaced my halogen landing and taxi lights with Fly LEDs lights. MUCH brighter! And only $50 each.
    I also got their wig-wag module (the one for halogens won’t work with LEDs).
    I’ve had numerous pilots remark how visible the wig-wags make me. Experimental planes have plenty of reasonably priced options.
     
  6. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route PoA Supporter

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  7. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    Thank you for your help.

    To be more specific how many lumens do I need to see as well as my quartz landing lights?

    How many lumens would be useful to see well?

    This last post is a good example, $40 for 2,100 lumens or do I need the parmetheus plus with 4800 lumens for $275 from Amazon?

    What benefit do I get for spending $550 compared to $80?

    I have not found a landing light that I find truly useful at night for an emergency landing; I don’t know how many lumens that would take.

    I am blind in one eye so I don’t see well at night.

    I am a flight instructor so sometimes I need to fly at night.

    Thank you.
     
  8. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    If I recall correctly, the GE 2,100 lumen lasts on average 19 hours. The Parmetheus (that I installed in my plane) lasts 1500 hours. Quick math, you'd spend over 3K on the GE for the same life span of the $275 LED. Plus the light output is literally night and day.
     
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  9. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    Search the Vans Air Force forum. There is a mountain of current information, testing and reviews on this subject.
     
  10. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    I installed the original Parmetheus in the flight school airplanes. They were enthusiastically received.

    The aviation stuff is better quality than the auto stuff, generally. It has to be to survive the vibration of a cowl-mounted installation. The higher price is largely due to certification hassles. I justified it for the school based on the actual bottom line:

    -Incandescents are rated for 25 hours operation. Some of them failed after only four air-time hours; hot filaments hate vibration. Labor costs to replace lamps MUST be included in lamp costs.
    -The original Parmetheus was rated for 1000 hours operation. The newer Parmetheus Plus is rated for 10,000 hours and its light output is 40% higher than an incandescent lamp.
    -They use a tenth of the current. They run cool. Easier on old wiring and switches and breakers. Switches especially. All of that stuff costs money. The heat of an incandescent does keep it free of ice, though.
    -When a flight school airplane has a dead landing light, the flight gets cancelled or a mechanic has to come and replace it. Neither of those do the bottom line any good. Cancelled flights alienate students.
    -And one advantage that has nothing to do with money: LEDs are either on or off. Incandescents have a filament that has to warm up and cool off, so the light is increasing, then steady, then decreasing. In wig-wag operation you can see it. An LED is on and off so suddenly it attracts attention far better. LED brake lights get your attention, too, don't they?
     
  11. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    The Parmetheus is brighter and consumes less power than the GE4509, plus you will be replacing it on average 500 times less often. The expected lifetime of the LEDs are long enough that you can leave your landing light on during takeoff and approach operations for more aircraft visibility without worrying that you are nearing the end of the useful life of the lamp. (Unless there is an unexpected infant mortality in the lamp I just installed, it seems unlikely I will reach the MTBF for the lamp in my lifetime.) I believe the AeroLEDs are even brighter than the Parmetheus units, but are also more expensive. The landing light in a Grumman in a PITA to replace, so avoiding having to do this on a frequent basis is a benefit all in itself. The extra brightness and lower power draw is a bonus. During a night electrical emergency, that lower power draw might be important, but taking stress off the electric system is probably a benefit. It's amazing how much power the nav lights, flashing beacon, and landing light draw. Personally, I don't think it is a question of whether one should install LED landing or taxi lights, but rather which one. If you are concerned with illumination, purchase the brightest one available, and install it once and likely never again.
     
  12. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Line Up and Wait

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    Parmetheus Pro on the right, GE4509 on the left. Not the best picture, but you can see the difference. Much whiter and brighter. Difference is more dramatic in real life. Much lower power draw. 18A30166-D69E-4102-8CDA-ECBB83E4C375.jpeg
     
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  13. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Line Up and Wait

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    There is also Aero-lites for aviation LED that are not Whelen prices, not TSO, but I am on the side of the debate that any drop in replacement for the 4509 is acceptable.