I’m planning (AeroLED) strobes and position lights, taxi lights in the wingtips, and HID landing lights in the leading edges. The taxi lights will be the ones to wig-wag.
I’ve set the switch layouts up for flow, both in before-flight and approach-to-landing phases. Let’s look at those:
- Strobes ON before engine start.
- Position ON before taxiing.
- Taxi lights ON before taxiing.
- Landing Lights ON before taking the runway.
- Wig Wag taxi lights ON either before takeoff or on climbout (wig wags are primarily for traffic/recognition)
- Strobes ON (on the entire flight)
- Position ON (on the entire flight)
- I’ll turn Taxi, Landing, and Wig Wag lights on prior to entering the terminal area. (No impact to switch placement, they can all be next to each other.)
- Strobes OFF (because we’re in the clouds and they reflect off the clouds and distract)
- Position ON (on the entire flight, even in the clouds)
- I’ll turn Strobes, Taxi, and Landing lights after breaking out of the clouds.
So, my two choices are a 5-switch setup and a 4-switch setup.
This is great for EVERY flight’s checklist flow from Master ON to climbout.
Given that my taxi lights are going to be the ones wig-wagging, I’m nervous about hooking up wig-wag downstream of the taxi light switch (taxi must be on for wig wag to work.)
For example, let’s look at cruise flight. I want to wig-wag for a traffic call just received from ATC. I don’t want to have to flip on the taxi lights, then jump over to the wig wag switch (if wig-wag was wired downstream of the taxi switch). I just want one switch throw. This means if I go with the 5 switch setup I’ll probably wire the wig-wag switch in parallel to the taxi light switch. (Wig-wag will operate regardless of taxi light switch position). That means I get flashing lights with one switch throw.
Seems reasonable, but I also like combining switches where it makes sense.
In this case, I’d have to be careful to only go halfway with the switch (which everyone overshoots with 3 position switches, especially in turbulence) for taxi lights only and I’ll have to jump back to the taxi light switch to WIGWAG either before takeoff or on climbout. (I don’t like jumping back over, but I may be able to live with it given the panel space I might be saving.)
If I get an ATC call for traffic while in cruise, I would only need one switch flick; all the way up to wig-wag.
This saves space and a switch, but I don’t really like the vertical TAXI indication and the jumping around during the before takeoff flow.
I think while typing this that I’ve talked myself into the separate function wig-wag switch. Takes more panel space, but I’ve got it already planned there. It may be a little confusing having the taxi lights controlled from two separated switches, but I think pilots only care about the function. Either Taxi, Landing, or Wig Wag. Turn on what you want.
I’ll keep thinking about it, but I think I’m going to go with the 5-switch setup.
(My HID landing lights are showing up soon, hopefully I’ll have a nice post on operation, brightness, and electrical requirements. Stay tuned.)