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Night Fly

2015 Nite Fly Dates:
April 18
May 16
August 15
September 12

First of all the airplane you select should not be fast, but be very stable and one you have flown before. I set my plane up like a real airplane by using (2) red glow sticks or LEDs on the left wing tips in a "L" pattern and (2) green glows sticks or LEDs on the right wing in a "L" pattern. I use (1) white, or blue glow stick or LED on the fuselage just in front of the vertical fin (tried one on each side in 2007 with one up the front of the vertical fin and had little rudder control because of blocked air flow). This (3) position light arrangement gives a distinctive light pattern on top of the airplane. Remember, you must be able to see the red and green lights on both the top and bottom of the wing. In 2007 I used four lights on each wing tip with two on top and two on bottom. In 2009 by moving the lights (let them overhang) to the edge of the wing tips it only took two lights per wing tip. Then I put an opposite color of glow sticks (yellow or orange) on the fuselage bottom (1) between the firewall and the leading edge of the wing (using yellow on the bottom of the fuselage nose gives you a landing light effect as you get close to the ground), (1) in the middle behind the wing (optional) and (1) as far back I as can on the tail. This gives you a very distinctive (4 or 5) light pattern on the bottom. If you have long landing gear legs you can place glow sticks or lights down the legs. The main thing is to know the left, right, top, and bottom positions of your airplane as it flies in the dark. If you are comfortable with the airplane you are flying and its light configurations it is possible not only to safely take off, fly circles, land, but to do loops, rolls, stall turns, split-S, immelman turns, and other aerobatic maneuvers. The hardest part of night flying is judging where the ground is as you are landing. Make sure to check your CG it may have changed after adding your glow sticks or lights.

* Here are some of the things you will need to night fly:

1) Glow sticks - medium to large sizes. Best colors are red, green, yellow and orange. Blue and white do not show up as well, but can be used. Look in the camping section at Academy Sport, Walmart, or at stores like Lowes, Home Depot, The Dollar Store, Dollar General, and others.

2) LEDs work well for night flying. There are clip on types available at several different stores, usually in the camping section (the type that clip on the brim of a baseball cap). Also, check R/C hobby shops for the latest single or strands of LED lights now available for airplanes, helicopters, and cars. These come in white, red, green, blue, or yellow colors and contain one or more solid or flashing lights.

3) Clear tape, rubber bands, velcro, double sided tape, silicone, etc. can be used around or on your fuselage, wing chord, and stab chord to hold on the glow sticks or lights.

4) Make sure to have some kind of flash light or other light source to use once it gets dark for fueling, checking your batteries, or to see if your glow stick or LEDs are coming loose. The worst thing that can happen to you is for your glow sticks or LEDs to fall off your airplane and you can't tell what position it's in to help you get it down and it will come down.

Hope all this information and photos help. Come out and fly or just come to watch the beauty of colored lights flying through the dark on R/C airplanes.