Light it Up!


LED strip light

How many times have you been working in the depths of your aircraft’s fuselage, a flashlight in your mouth, and a work light burning a hole in your trousers (and not providing any light while it was doing it) and wished for better lighting? I have been a cave explorer on and off throughout my life, and I’ll tel you what – it was just a good preparation for working in a light airplane’s fuselage!

But fret no more! In a recent trip up to Glasair Aviation, I found an idea whose time has come – LED strip lights, intended for use as under cabinet lighting in kitchens and work rooms. These strips of LEDs are available all over the internet as kit of four to six lights, with thin cables to connect them. They are light, small, and compact – perfect for zip-tying or using a spot of velcro to hold them up near the ceiling, out of the way of tools and bodies. You can buy a set for as low as $30 at the local big-box store, and light the entire interior of whatever airplane you’re working on. Just mount the switch near where you enter, and you’ll have great lighting through the time you spend working back there.

Along with being out of the way, and generating lots of nice white light, they have the added benefits of generating very little heat, and not need to have their batteries replaced. A definite plus when it comes to modernizing your shop.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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