Landing light wiring

June 12, 2011 – I installed the ground and power wiring for he landing lights. I decided that I wanted to use near-Boeing spec ground studs, and for the sake of maintenance I want to use local grounds whenever possible. I used snakeskin to protect the bundle coming out at the outboard side of the outboard rib, and clamped it in place. The ground stud there will be the ground for the landing light and the nav lights when they are installed in the tips.

Time: :55

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Left landing light complete

May 9, 2011 – I got both landing light assemblies pretty much up to the same place, then I installed the left landing light, since that wing is on the table.

I attached the retaining strips using the recommended double-stick tape. I had a few reservations about doing this, but I figure I’ll do it now, then when it’s time for maintenance and the tape fails, I may install pop-rivets. As it turned out late today, pop-rivets may have made my life a little easier.

As I read through the instructions last week, I ran across something that I really didn’t care for. You are told to use a washer and a screw to hold the light assembly in the bracket, something like below:

I really didn’t like that, so I set out to make something that I liked better.

I started out with a piece of aluminum L-angle. This piece is .125″ thick. The big leg is about 1″ and the smaller one is roughly 1/2″.

Using a 1″ rotary file, I milled an edge 3/8″ wide. I did this milling below the nice rounded edge of the raw stock. I finished the milled surface with a sanding disk, then a scotch-brite disk.

I cut four 1″ pieces from the milled stock. This is a good shot of the profile of the piece.

I drilled the holes for the screws. The screw holes do go through the milled section, but that’s where the pre-drilled holes fall in the bracket; they are right along the edge of the lamp assembly. I’m not worried about any kind of structural issues with this. The picture shows the top and bottom of a couple of the retainers.

I cleaned, treated, primed and painted  the retainers, then installed them. I really like how they turned out.

I shaped the edges of the lenses at the top and bottom around the lens retainers. The lenses wouldn’t go into the leading edge without hitting the light bracket already installed inside.

I installed the screws for the lens. I had some trouble getting one of the retainer strips to stay down so I could get the last screw in. I had to slide a thin piece of aluminum through the back under the light bracket and push the strip down while I got the screw started.

Here’s the finished product, inside and out:

One thing I’m going to do differently, and change on this light: I’m going to get some more cap screws that use an allen wrench for the adjustment screws for the light bracket. These are very hard to get tight without running the risk of stripping the screw heads.

Time: 3:50

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Left landing light lens and retainers

May 2, 2011 – The left landing light lens is pretty much ready to install.

I enlarged  and countersunk the holes in the plexiglass lens to accept the dimples in the skin. This was a little scary because the drill bit caught in the plexiglass a couple of times, and I got very small chips, but they were removed by the countersink.

I drilled the lens retainers and countersunk the nutplate rivet holes. I alodined, primed, and painted the retainers, then installed the nutplates. They’re black and white because I had decided to paint the inside of the leading edge that way: black all around except for the upper surface of the landing light bay, where it’s white for a little bit of downward reflection.


…and after:

It’s a little cold right now, so I’m going to wait to install the left lens.

Time: 1:05

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Landing light lens work

April 19, 2011 – I began working on installation of the landing lights in the wing leading edges.

I am using the Duckworks rectangular lights. The instructions start by having you mark and cut the lenses to size. They suggest an ideal measurement of 3/4″ on the top and bottom and 5/8″ on the sides. I went ahead and marked those dimensions on the leading edge around the cutout, then placed the lens over the top of the leading edge and traced those marks.

I cut the lines using my dremel.

Here’s the lenses after cutting:

I used a large, coarse file to clean the edges, then I used a utility knife to scrape and slightly round the edges. I’m really happy with how they came out. I still need to cut the corners, but I may wait on that until the attach brackets are installed, then I’ll cut the lenses to shape.

The next step is to drill the lenses through the leading edge of the wing. To help hold the lenses tightly in place, you use tape so you can pull the lens tightly into position.

I also painted the brackets for the lights. These will be installed inside the leading edge.

Time: 2:10

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Leading edge assembly

December 21, 2010 – After not being sure if I could rivet the leading edges by myself, I decided yesterday to give it a try. I took the assembly out of the cradle and put it on the table. Things went a lot easier.

Before I started assembly, I installed the nutplates for the landing light brackets.

The fasteners at the leading edge were a little more difficult to reach, but I took my time, and things came out OK. I also installed the access panel doubler for the stall warning vane.

The left leading edge is clecoed onto the wing spar.

I’ve started on the right leading edge. I’m doing this one a little differently. Hopefully this will give me a little more access, since the top rivets are a little more difficult at the leading edge.

Time: 3:10

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Painted leading edge ribs and skins

December 14, 2010 – The most important thing about today is that it’s my 25th wedding anniversary! But due to the fact that LJ had to work, I still get to work on the airplane.

Over the last week I have alodined and primed the leading edge ribs, and got them and the leading edge skins primed. I also painted the landing light bays the traditional flat black. I  read a note in the instructions for the Duckworks lights where they advise painting the upper surface of the interior of the landing light bay a brighter color, since the cutout points more down than forward. A lighter color on the top will permit some reflection of the light downward. So I painted the upper portion white as you can see in the photo. I also painted the sides of the ribs that will form the bay for the lights. I used the nutplates as the guide for where the line should stop, since that is where the bracket will sit.

Time: 3:10

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Began landing light prep work

December 1, 2010 – Over the last couple of days I have done the sheet metal work in preparation for the landing light installation. I decided to get the Duckworks regular 55W rectangular lights. I’m putting a light in each wing, and they will be in the most outboard bay, just inboard of the wingtips. The kit comes with very nice instructions.

To start with, I cut out the template for the leading edge cutout. The edge of the template also gets cut, so it can align with the fasteners in the rib inboard of the light. I aligned the template in place on the leading edge and taped it in place, then traced the outline of my cutout.

To do the cutout, I began by using a Unibit for each corner, then I used a cutoff wheel between those holes. Then a combination of rotary files and scotchbrite discs until the opening was nice and smooth.

I then used a template to locate the holes in the ribs that the landing light bracket will attach to. The holes will contain nutplates, and the attach screws can be loosened, allowing the bracket to be adjusted. I drilled the holes through the template, took them up to #10, then used a nutplate jig to drill the rivet holes for the nutplates.

I’ll install the nutplates after everything is painted.

Time: 2:40

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