Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

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TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan
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Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:00 pm

I posted this on the Scale Model Addict forum, but I figure I can ask it here since it does pertain to model lighting.

So who is an expert on this sort of stuff? So on a typical fighter craft, there are red lights are on the port wingtips and blue lights are on the starboard. The red strobes are on the top and bottom, right?

I have a Hasegawa 1:72 SR-71 Blackbird and I am currently studying how to wire a 555 timer chip to produce a strobe. There are no wingtip lights (because they'd melt off, for one reason), but only retractable strobes that pop out of the top and bottom of the craft during takeoff and landing. I'm planning to use fiber optics for these.

I am also planning to light up a Hasegawa 1:48 F-8E Crusader fighter jet. I've ordered some tiny red and blue SMDs for the wingtip lights and use the same red SMDs for the strobes. It's a Vietnam War-era plane, but I assume they had strobes then, right? It's actually the Area 88 version of the plane, which would put this as a late '70s/early '80s era version.

Both kits will use 5mm flickering yellow LEDs for the engines. These as well as the SMDs are from HDA Modelworx. The Blackbird should be pretty easy because the kit's fuselage is basically a long, hollow tube made of a top and bottom. It will be easy to put a timer chip in there to handle the strobes. For the Crusader, I think I can put the timer chip and resistors in the empty space behind the rear landing gear bay. This will be a more constrained area.

So do fighter jets only activate their nav lights during takeoff and landing? I can't imagine they'd have them running while on a mission, since it would increase visibility. Who knows about this stuff?
Greg
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Johnnycrash
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by Johnnycrash » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:32 pm

Steady red on forward port (left) wing tip, steady green on forward starboard (right) wing tip, and steady white on rear, strobe red on top (fuselage or more common, top of tail), strobe red under nose, and sometimes strobe white rear port wing tip and strobe rear starboard wing tip.
John Fleming
I know that's not what the instructions say, but the kit's wrong anyway.

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Johnnycrash
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by Johnnycrash » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:36 pm

Forgot to mention that yes, they only activate during take off and landing, or when NOT in combat. During combat, they are turned off, and they use a different light system. Ever see those long, lime yellow/green strips?? Those are lights.

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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:13 pm

Johnnycrash wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:32 pm
Steady red on forward port (left) wing tip, steady green on forward starboard (right) wing tip, and steady white on rear, strobe red on top (fuselage or more common, top of tail), strobe red under nose, and sometimes strobe white rear port wing tip and strobe rear starboard wing tip.
Then why do the instructions call for these lights to be painted red/blue instead of red/green? The instructions for the Tomcat also call for blue.

My idea is to pose the Crusader on its stand with the wings angled upwards and the landing gears down, like it's coming down for a landing. The problem with that, however, is that I won't be able to get an SMD into the landing gear light. There is a clear part for it, but I don't see a feasible way of getting a light in there. Hmmm...

I was able to find a video showing the strobes on the Blackbird on YouTube. I couldn't find any footage of a Crusader at night with its lights going.

Thanks for the response and advice. I figured they would turn off the nav lights on missions.

EDIT: I found the answer to the green/blue dilemma on Wikipedia! Here it says:
Aircraft navigation lights are placed in a way similar to that of marine vessels, with a aviation red navigation light located on the left wingtip leading edge and a aviation blue light (from a distance looks green) on the right wingtip leading edge.
Greg
Plastic modeling and other nerd stuff in Japan on my YouTube channel
My WIP modeling page on Tumblr.
Ah, you know it's funny, these people, they go to sleep. They think everything's fine, everything's good. They wake up the next day and they're on fire.

EVApodman
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by EVApodman » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:27 pm

In aviation a blue lens on the navigation light looks green at a distance.
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by Johnnycrash » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:12 pm

EVApodman wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:27 pm
In aviation a blue lens on the navigation light looks green at a distance.
Yeah, in the off position, the lens looks more blue. But when on, it's green light coming out.
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robiwon
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by robiwon » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:09 am

Excellent info. I'm working on an F111 for a co-worker. It'll be mounted in flight with all the lights going. Now, how to make the strobes?
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:30 pm

robiwon wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:09 am
Excellent info. I'm working on an F111 for a co-worker. It'll be mounted in flight with all the lights going. Now, how to make the strobes?
Check out the other thread from Millennium Falsehood re: 555 timer chip. Brt has provided some useful information there. I was able to figure out a strobe thanks to his information about using a diode. I'm not entirely sure if I have it right. I bought some fresh batteries just to make sure there is no power leak. Once I get this figured out, I will make an easy to understand diagram that any doofus like myself can figure out and replicate.

Now that I am getting closer to completing the 555 chip for the strobe, I began working on the SR-71. I'll have mine mounted in-flight as well, so I assembled it with the gear doors closed. Less work that way!
Greg
Plastic modeling and other nerd stuff in Japan on my YouTube channel
My WIP modeling page on Tumblr.
Ah, you know it's funny, these people, they go to sleep. They think everything's fine, everything's good. They wake up the next day and they're on fire.

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subnuke
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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by subnuke » Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:12 am

They don't have green light bulbs. They use a blue lens cap with an amber bulb. Yellow and blue makes green.

Of course, today they have green LEDs, though I don't know if they are bright enough yet to use for navigation lights.

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Re: Questions about navigation lights on fighter jets

Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:55 pm

subnuke wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:12 am
They don't have green light bulbs. They use a blue lens cap with an amber bulb. Yellow and blue makes green.

Of course, today they have green LEDs, though I don't know if they are bright enough yet to use for navigation lights.
Thanks for the info. I have ordered some green LEDs and will paint the clear parts blue. I think the green light should overpower any blue tint. I'll give this a try once my order from HDA Modelworx arrives.
Greg
Plastic modeling and other nerd stuff in Japan on my YouTube channel
My WIP modeling page on Tumblr.
Ah, you know it's funny, these people, they go to sleep. They think everything's fine, everything's good. They wake up the next day and they're on fire.

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