Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aircraft LED Maintenance

Today's rains produced a lake outside my hangar.
God bless Thomas Edison and his incandescent light bulb, but times have changed and it's time to move from filament light bulbs to LEDs.

As a private pilot, I'm not authorized to perform a lot of maintenance on my airplane. About all I can do is check the oil, add fuel, and replace the landing and taxi lights.

Since today wasn't a good day for flying I figured that I'd perform some maintenance. After having to replace both my landing light and taxi light within the first few months of owning my plane, I decided that next time, I'd use a more expensive LED light.
Removing my old taxi light, on the right.
When that time came, last summer, I replaced my traditional landing light with an LED and it's worked great ever since. However, since then, my taxi light has burned out, twice. While this isn't unusual, it's still annoying. (Surprisingly, the taxi and landing lights are not required when flying, not-for-hire, at night.)

Replacing the light is fairly simple. Just unscrew about 20 screws to remove the plexiglas covering and drop in the new bulb. After testing it, the final step is to make an entry in the airframe logbook. It couldn't be simpler.

Landing light and new taxi light are now both LEDs.
Generally, I turn on my landing light when I'm approaching an airport regardless if it's daylight or nighttime. Just like a car's daytime running lights, having your landing lights turned on makes it easier to be seen. Since I can't turn on my landing light without also turning on my taxi light, because of the light switch design, I've been hesitant to keep my lights on for longer periods. Now, with LEDs all around, I'll definitely be using them more often.

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