Lighting a RC Airplane and first night fly.

I was excited when I heard there was another night fly at our club. I have never done a night fly and a few months ago we had one that my daughter and I watched. I always have liked building and electronics so I told myself I need to build one. Originally I though a while back on building a new FT Arrow wing with the lights inside. However I have not had time to build a new wing. My FT Arrow I built as a FPV wing back in December 2015. So it has had a long life. Through some rough let’s call them landings right? It has become almost completely worn out. I was about to retire it when I thought to myself. Hey this would be a good night fly wing.
I almost had no time to get ready for the night fly. However it was rescheduled twice because of weather leaving me just long enough to get it done. My daughter before I could get 10% done with my wing rather her airplane with lights on it. So I did her FT Tiny Trainer first.

Ok so I kind of want to go through the process of how to light your aircraft. I went and found some LED strips. I wanted to use 5v so I could power it off of the rx. Note make sure your bec can handle the load. The strip I bought was .

I got 5M of it so roughly 16 feet. It was plenty to do two small airplanes. What I found to do is first plan out how you are going to lay out your lights. I decided to actually plan out cut the striping and put it on the model before soldering. You need to think of how I can make each side different so I can tell which way I’m going.

Once you have the design laid out on your plane now you have to start connecting all the strips together. Measuring the wire striping, tinning the wire, and tin and solder to the pads on the strip takes some practice. It took much longer that I imagined but I think it was worth it. A couple of times I came close to having the solder bridging the connection between + -. You don’t need to make every connection on the end of each strip. It can be in the middle or spread out to avoid bridging of the pads.

Once all the connections were done I covered the bottom leading edge with red translucent tape, and the vertical stripes behind it with packing tape to hold down the wire and protect it for moisture.
In the end we had a great night fly at the club. About 5 people showed and at one point we had at least 40 of us in the air chasing each other around.

Lillie go to fly her airplane and did a great job considering the plane was under powered and it was basically flying on the edge of a stall on a 2s.

If you haven’t yet try lighting one of your planes. If you already have the wire and solder you can get away with lighting a plane for under 20$ and it totally worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions concerning lighting a plan and happy flying.