My Wooden Airplane
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11/14/2011 - 11/22/2011

"Rotating" Beacon

Although I technically don't need a "rotating" beacon (or anti-collision light) because I'm using strobes, I decided to make one anyway. At night, on the ramp, strobes can blind other pilots, so it is considered polite to turn them off. But if I did that, I'd only have my position lights, and I wanted the extra level of safety. Besides, it should be a fun project!

I started off with some "trailer" lights from a local auto-supply store. The red one on the left is what I wanted, but the bulb is just too small to be effective. The clear one on the right has the right bulb size, but the base is too big to fit on top of my vertical fin.

After some hacking and welding, I managed to come up with this. The "secret weapon" I'm planning on using is the bulb. It is a drop-in replacement for a standard 1156 brake light bulb, but it has 45 red LEDs! Now all I have to do is figure out how to make it blink.

I made this curcuit from a schematic I found on the internet. It uses a basic 555 timer chip. With a 100 uF capacitor and a 20K trim pot, I was able to adjust it to match
the duty cycle of my strobes.

Finally, I carved a fairing out of balsa and mounted it to my vertical fin
(similar to the tail light on the rudder). Like the tail light, the fairing will be fiberglassed.

Total Time: 12.0 hrs.