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Old Oct 08, 2012, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bmschulman View Post
Why do so many of these planes have green/red left/right wings? I understand the full-scale nav lights color scheme, but in my experience it's more important to discern top wing from bottom wing at night. In daylight, our models don't have different left/right color schemes. They have distinct top/bottom schemes. I think the night planes look better when they are uniformly one color on top and one on bottom. Just my opinion; a lot of people doing LEDs for the first time think they need distinct colors on left and right wings. I don't think so.
Well you don't really "need" any of that, do you? I can fly a plane that is exactly the same on top and bottom, I do that all the time. Everyone does whatever they personally like. If they want to emulate full scale planes, that's what they do. If you think they look better with solid colors, that's what you do. I happen to think they look good with rainbow colors, so that's what I do.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 02:21 PM
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in my experience most people that fly at night tend to keep the wings right side up. And if you only light the upper and lower wing in one whole color it would kinda be hard to keep it oriented. I personally had a solid colored lower wing and leading edge of the tail but I also lit the entire underside of the fuse from the wings back so it looked like a giant blue arrow flying. The only problem I had was flying too far away.

And for what its worth, blue is not good to use if leaving the LEDs bare with no covering to diffuse the light. Really screws with the night vision.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 03:25 PM
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I have two different colors on the bottom of my wings but I'm new to night flying and the last thing I want is to lose orientation.



I'm a little bummed. Cold weather has moved in plus so much overtime at work leaves little time to fly at night.
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by verticalspark View Post
in my experience most people that fly at night tend to keep the wings right side up.
But that's my point. At distance, I can tell it's right-side-up if I see solid red when the bottom is solid red, etc. If the top is half red and half green, just like the bottom, then I need to think about which way the plane is flying going in order to figure out whether it's still right-side-up. In the daytime, orientation is accomplished by distinguishing top of the wing from the bottom. I think night flying works exactly the same way.

I know it's all personal preference but a lot of people read this thread to get into night flying for the very first time, and I think there's an assumption that coloring each wing half a different color helps with orientation. I don't think that's true. So many people seem to do it, but it might actually make things more confusing, especially at a distance.

Can anyone who has tried it both ways comment?
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Old Oct 08, 2012, 06:51 PM
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It helps with orientation. This is especially true if you are flying high and far away at night. Unless you have the entire plane lighted up (wings, rudder, canopy, fuselage, elevator, etc), you are soley relying on the lights for orientation.

When you only have the top and bottom differentiated by a different color, you will be able to tell top from bottom, but it is often very difficult to determine which way the plane is flying. Your mind plays tricks on you in the dark.

Here is a wing I fly at night. It has yellow leds in the shape of a V on top...and blue leds in a V on the bottom. You would think that with those colors...shaped into a V...that top/bottom and front/back would be easily discernable. Nope. Sometimes it is coming straight at me and my mind inverts the V. To compensate, I added two small strips of red leds next to the motor facing backwards (like afterburners). It makes a big difference. The same goes for different colored leds on the wings or tips. They help you determine the direction of the plane.

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Old Oct 08, 2012, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Bombay View Post
It helps with orientation. This is especially true if you are flying high and far away at night. Unless you have the entire plane lighted up (wings, rudder, canopy, fuselage, elevator, etc), you are soley relying on the lights for orientation.

When you only have the top and bottom differentiated by a different color, you will be able to tell top from bottom, but it is often very difficult to determine which way the plane is flying. Your mind plays tricks on you in the dark.
Yup, your mind plays tricks on you. Eventually this subject always comes up in airplane discussions, whether it's night coloring or day coloring, someone will come along and say they have a fool proof way to color things, but it's never true. You can do this and that and experiment, and everyone experiences color in different ways, so you just do what you do until you get it right and hope you don't destroy too much equipment in the process

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Old Oct 09, 2012, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bombay View Post
Here is a wing I fly at night. It has yellow leds in the shape of a V on top...and blue leds in a V on the bottom. You would think that with those colors...shaped into a V...that top/bottom and front/back would be easily discernable. Nope.
I agree you need to be able to see the tail to tell which way it's flying.

I believe the red/green convention comes from boating where there is no issue of seeing the bottom of the boat. It's essentially a two-dimensional visual system. On full-scale aircraft, there is no real chance of flying inverted so the convention works to convey direction information to other aircraft.

What I'm suggesting is that with right/left red/green lighting, you'll be able to tell flight direction, but only if the plane hasn't flipped itself over. With a solid color on top/bottom, you'll immediately know which way the plane is oriented. With a red/green scheme, I think you can get into trouble quickly if the plane becomes inverted. I have never seen a daytime RC airplane scheme involving coloring each wing differently and I think it's for the same reason -- inverted orientation would be very confusing.

I agree you need a lit-up tail to easily tell which way it's flying at distance, and to bring it home. Your flying wing is a good example of that. But most of the planes I've seen on this thread have plenty of lights on the tail, but also the red/green wing scheme.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 07:08 AM
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Best way is to have both. Top and bottom different and red/green.

For fast planes (Funjet) I fly mostly with the top/bottom colours. The plane often is far away and the direction is normally obvious. They also have red/green but only very small.

For slower planes red/green is enough.

For aerobatic/3D I rely mostly on the red/green. Top/bottom is only an additional help.

Hints:
- don't use too much white, you might have problems seeing the red/green
- don't rely on patterns, with some distance they just disappear, only colours remain

RK
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rkopka View Post
Best way is to have both. Top and bottom different and red/green.

For fast planes (Funjet) I fly mostly with the top/bottom colours. The plane often is far away and the direction is normally obvious. They also have red/green but only very small.

For slower planes red/green is enough.

For aerobatic/3D I rely mostly on the red/green. Top/bottom is only an additional help.

Hints:
- don't use too much white, you might have problems seeing the red/green
- don't rely on patterns, with some distance they just disappear, only colours remain

RK

Agreed.
As stated before, it really depends on who is flying, the size/shape/speed of the aircraft, the colors and placement of the lighting, the darkness of the sky (moon/stars/ambient lighting), and the distance.

I do not think you have to use red or green (or any particular color) at all, but red and green show up well and they give us that distinct visual cue of opposites.

If you are wondering why alot of people use red/green on the wings, set yourself up a night flyer the way you want it. You might come to realize the reasons that so many people use colors to differentiate between left/right.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 09:30 AM
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My L and R are both identical- 187 LEDs in each wing half. Green center sections, with red on wingtips and all control surfaces (except white LEDs in rudd) to give the whole plane a nice outline. <see avatar
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 10:14 AM
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What if you have color blindness? There is no one solution.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bombay View Post
.

If you are wondering why alot of people use red/green on the wings, set yourself up a night flyer the way you want it. You might come to realize the reasons that so many people use colors to differentiate between left/right.
Mine is set up with red on the top of both wings and green on the bottoms. (See photos.) I haven't had any orientation problems. I also like how it looks, but that's just personal. I think a lot of people use the split colors because of familiarity with navigation lights and the many examples of planes posted here, not because they know it will actually make a difference to their own flying. I still would rather know up from down than left from right while in the air, just like I do in the daytime. But I'm glad you've all found schemes that work for you. Thanks for your comments!
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 05:58 PM
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Looks great!
I notice that you have a red tail. That probably helps with orientation, too.
Disconnect the all of the lights on the tail end...and fly far away...and see what happens. Just kidding of course, but I think orientation would be impaired a little.
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Old Oct 09, 2012, 06:48 PM
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My next night flyer will have all white lights but will be buried into the foam so the entire plane will light up. I have seen it done a couple times and it turns out great
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 07:52 AM
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Graz - Austria
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Heli

When I built the lights for my first heli (not scale but trainer) I was considering the green/red thing. Of all the pictures I found no one was using it. Most had no colour distinction of the sides at all.

But helis are a different kind. Usually you have the rotor lit and high above the fuselage. And the boom also has a different form (and colour). And you don't fly so far away. The better rotors have different colours up/down.

I used 3 colours at the boom (left right bottom) of my second night heli but I'm still not sure if it really helps (not many flights done).

RK
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