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Skunkworks85

CTSW Night Flight Report

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When I was initially looking to purchase a CTSW, I tried searching high and low for information on flying one at night. I understand that this is a light sport, so it may not apply to most users here.

I did end up deciding to go with a CTSW, part of the "needs" was to be capable of VFR night flight

Last Tuesday, I got night current in my CTSW, I did have a CFI with me as a safety pilot, since it was the first time at night in this aircraft.

Thoughts;

1.The landing light is mediocre, but does work, I would guess that the throw of the light is about 500-600 feet down the runway at 50 ft agl. Not the greatest, but for the occasional night flight will suffice. the runway i was using is 150 ft wide, and lights up around 80% width at 50ft agl
 

2. The "alternator" cannot keep up with the landing light, Since I was doing full stops, with taxi backs, I had to shut off the landing light on the taxi back to the runway, The volt meter on the dynon got down to ≈11.8 volts at one time, until I realized it and shut off the light. On a side note the green nav light( it is new on my plane) was bright enough to see the taxi lines with the landing light off. but just barely

3. It was pleasant surprise, and I did not know that there are lights in the sight tube windows. It boggles my mind that they decided to make these lights blue though. Furthermore, the compass also has a light. I did not know this.

4. The cabin light (on bulkhead) works very well for checklists/ect. again I have no idea why they decided to make it white, A red filter is in the future for me.

5. I need to add, "landing light on" to my down wind "night" checklist.

6. The switches are not lighted, not really a problem, but kind of surprising that they did not think about back lighting these switches. The landing light and cabin light are the last 2 on the right. Something that needs to be remembered, and try not to mix them up.

 

Thought I post my thoughts in case prospective/future pilots can now have a little more information abut flying these things at night.

 

 

 

 

 

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An LED landing light will make a world of difference.  The factory Halogen light consumes 80W of power.  The LED I replaced mine with is 11W.  I now keep my landing light on all the time and the electric system doesn't even notice.  FD-USA will sell you an approved LED light with MRA (though overpriced).

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I recently switched to the Earth-X lithium battery and I’ve been very happy with the insane starting power and the ability to finally leave all the lights on as I fly at night. I couldn’t be happier with the upgrade. 

 

My CTsw has amber fuel sight tube lights  interesting  

 

Kent 

 

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2 hours ago, KentWien said:

I recently switched to the Earth-X lithium battery and I’ve been very happy with the insane starting power and the ability to finally leave all the lights on as I fly at night. I couldn’t be happier with the upgrade. 

 

My CTsw has amber fuel sight tube lights  interesting  

 

Kent 

 

Do you have the PN you used for your battery?

That is odd that I have blue lights, 

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The downside to the LED landing light is it’s pretty weak. Better than no night at all, but just barely. 

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1 hour ago, Skunkworks85 said:

Do you have the PN you used for your battery?

That is odd that I have blue lights, 

Sure!

3 items:

ETX680C
Custom fit C case battery box #151124
12V 5mm LED RED light - 48" wire

Total $462 with shipping. You’ll need that battery box. Flight design can provide you with an MRA for $60.

www.earthxbatteries.com

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4 hours ago, Ben2k9 said:

The downside to the LED landing light is it’s pretty weak. Better than no night at all, but just barely. 

Is it worse than the Incandescent?

3 hours ago, KentWien said:

Sure!

3 items:

ETX680C
Custom fit C case battery box #151124
12V 5mm LED RED light - 48" wire

Total $462 with shipping. You’ll need that battery box. Flight design can provide you with an MRA for $60.

www.earthxbatteries.com

Thank you Kent, I will look into this when my battery is kaput.

 

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I haven't flown at night with both, but my thought is the LED is less focussed. The LED is a quick drop in replacement. In my opinion the lower power use is worth the lower illumination. 

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On 5/17/2019 at 9:34 PM, Tom Baker said:

I haven't flown at night with both, but my thought is the LED is less focussed. The LED is a quick drop in replacement. In my opinion the lower power use is worth the lower illumination. 

Same here.  And the safety benefit of running a landing light all the time is real.

I have landed within 5min of the end of civil twilight with the LED landing light.  The runway edge lights were visible, the runway surface was not.  The light was adequate for illuminating the runway surface in time for me to round out properly.  Not great, but adequate.    

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I’m in need of a Battery now for our CtLS 2011. We been running the Odessey PC370, but battery mart is back ordered till August on these batteries. We have had a battery failure every other year, and the last P.C. 370 didn’t even make it through its warranty period. Battery Mart refunded the price of the battery but now we can’t find another PC 370 in stock anywhere. I’m thinking of trying the lithium from EarthX. Who supplies the custom case and what’s the red light needed for? 

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Earth-x supplies everything. If you just want a PC370 I have the 1 year old one I pulled out to replace with the Earth-X. It was fine, just wanted the Lithium battery. Let me know. 

Kent

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The red light gives you the status of the battery.   Since it has it's own BMS(battery management system) on board to manage charging from the generator it will notify you if there's a problem.  I got a card that shows what each LED light sequence means.

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Just bought an Odyssey PC310 from Amazon. In stock and arrived in a couple days. 

 

 

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Does the odyssey 310 replace the 370? Identical size etc so no change needed to the battery box? When you install the earth x replacement, does the new battery box line up with holes in the firewall? Is there any wiring issues for the battery lugs etc. in other words, can you just mount the new battery and battery box from earth x and hook the two cables up like normal and go? 

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The PC310 is the standard battery for the CTSW and early CTLS. Personally I have never seen a PC370 installed in a CT, but I do seem to remember them offering a larger battery as an option. I don't think the two will interchange.

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