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  • Steve

RV-8 and the FLYLEDS

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

2/13/21 - My 2001 RV-8 came with the standard Duckworks Landing/Taxi lights that were commonly available at that time. They are nothing more than automotive store halogen driving lights fitted into custom made brackets to fit the RV wings. These lights work fine, but have a few drawbacks, the biggest being a higher current draw. It also takes a little bit of effort to get a WigWag setup. Duckworks make such a module, but one was never installed in this airplane.

I wanted to upgrade to LED lights for both the brighter light and the lower current draw. Today, there are many LED options available that meet all of my desires and requirements, usually and then some. I was really wanting to upgrade to Aeroleds Aerosuns. Aeroleds are fantastic lights and I have had them on 2 previous airplanes and have no complaints about them. They are very good lights. They are also very expensive.

In order to get two lights to WigWag in sync, it is necessary to run a wire connecting them, plus having a separate switch to select steady or WigWag. That was a little more in depth than I was looking for. I was hoping for a simpler, less expensive solution.

Enter Flyleds. I had heard about them for several years but hadn't given them much thought. That is until I saw post #3 in this thread on Vans Air Force.

I almost immediately ordered a pair of their Double Spotlight kits and their WigWag Module. The first thing that surprised me is that they are in Australia. That's no big deal, but I thought it would take a while to get them. I was wrong. I ordered them Wednesday night and they arrived the following Tuesday. In the interim I also found out that Flyboy Accessories carries them also. In retrospect, I don't think I would have received them more than a day or two quicker from Flyboy and since I can't start installing them until this weekend it doesn't really matter.

Two Double Spotlights in kit form.

As it turns out, the lights are pretty easy to assemble. The instructions that come with them are very good. I didn't think so at first, but once I read them with all the parts in front of me everything became very evident. I didn't really have any trouble with any of the assembly steps.

New light on the left, old one on the right.
Assembly mostly complete.

I wanted to make sure they worked before installation, just in case, so I hooked them up to my power supply. Just to show how much more power efficient they are, the power supply (5 amp max) could barely make one halogen light glow while it powers both LED lights no problem.

The instructions specify that the connector block on the circuit board is good for 18 gauge wire maximum. They say you can get around this with larger wire through the wing by stripping some insulation off the wire and separating out a few strands of wire until it fits the connector. Sure, that's one way, but I only have one wire going out to the wing and need two wires to the circuit board. They also specify you can use a short section of 18 or 20 gauge wire at the light. I just happen to have some 20 gauge wire in black and red. Cool.

As it turns out, a standard blue crimp butt splice will take two 20 gauge wires twisted together in one end and the 16 gauge wire from the wing in the other.

Completed lights with wires attached and butt splices applied to one end.

The Flyleds website offers an option for 30 degree light beam (taxi) lenses which according to them "will widen the light beam out to 30 degrees, perfect for taxiing duties". They were only $10 so I figured why not. They are shown on the light on the left, which just happens to go on the left side.

Both lights ready to install.

Installation was pretty easy, after all, Flyleds designed them to be direct drop in replacements for the Duckworks lights, and they are. Everything lined up just like it should. The only thing that complicated it was that I had to pull the wing tips in order to get enough room to splice in the new wires, there was not enough slack in the old installation. Other than that, it was a breeze.

Old halogen light in Duckworks bracket.
Empty bracket in the foreground, main spar in the background.
New light in original bracket.
Close up of new light.
Back side of assembly.
Ready to close Doctor.

The original lights have worked well and I use them all the time. They are not, however, the brightest bulbs in the lamp. These were taken on a rainy day in the hangar with the lights out. Not completely dark, but pretty dim.

Left light before
Left light after.
Right light before.
Right light after.
Left light before
Left light after.
Right light before.
Right light after.

The following photos were taken when it was almost dark outside, but there are hangar lights around.

Both lights before.

Both lights after.

Both lights before.
Both lights after.

All in all, I am very pleased. I only wish I had flown at night with the previous set up, now I will have no frame of reference when I do so with the new.

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