Strobe light setup
By Had Robinson
update March 7, 2022
The purpose of a strobe light for ultralights is to be seen by other nearby when operating during the twilight periods (30) minutes before sunrise and (30) minutes after sunset. These lights are to be visible for (3) miles. Most ultralights do not have alternator and battery systems so the lights are often battery powered. As a result, they only just meet the requirements for visibility.
What can pilots do make these battery powered lights more visible? One of the most important things is to be sure it is visible a full 360 degrees. In order for it to not only legal, but functional, I came up with this arrangement. To pin the strobe to the harness guarantees that it will not be seen from 1/2 of all possible directions. Instead it should be hung from the harness. Attaching it to the top of the cage works BUT it becomes a trap for glider lines which can damage or tear off the strobe.
If your strobe has a case like the one below, drilll two small holes in the bottom flange of the strobe case. Thread about 20" of some narrow Dyneema through the holes and secure with a bowline. Tie the other end to an inexpensive karabiner. The strobe can be stored in a side pocket until needed. When it is deployed, it is well below the seat and your legs and is visible a full 360 degrees. Do not forget to return the strobe to the pocket or flip it over an upper part of your harness when landing. If you do not do this, your strobe could damaged or even get whacked by the propeller.
The above strobe is inexpensive but it is not very bright. Instead, I highly recommend that pilots purchase a DS-30A-1 White Lightning Drone Strobe. This strobe is at least ten times as bright as the inexpensive strobes and easily visible during daylight hours. It can be mounted at the bottom of a piece of wood that can include a rechargeable battery (LiPo or NiMh) and hung from the harness as in the photo above. In my case, I just removed the guts of the strobe used in the photo and attached the DS-30A-1 to the lens of the cheap strobe.