So how come we are still stuck with
1940's incandescent light technology for our airplanes?
Well, not any more! And
here is a source for a
PAR-36 & PAR-46 HID Light Kits,
Based on user reports, the PAR-36 should mount in any Baron nose and the wings of B55 SN: TC-400 thru TC-1600 and maybe some Bonanza installations, check your parts
catalog to find out if you can use a PAR-36 bulb in any of your plane's light
positions. A PAR-46 unit is required for the wing cavities of the Baron (SN:
TC-399 and lower) and possibly Bonanza wings as well.
See pics of a Bonanza PAR-46
install using the
The cavity is a little tight for the ballast box to be mounted on the side, but
it will work and this owner shows you the end results are quite nice, IMHO.
Here is some Bonanza lighting history from Larry G.:
PAR 36 are 4.5" diameter round lights
PAR 46 are 5.75" diameter round lights
Each are available in multitudes of "horsepower". Spec is
candlepower or lumens. There are dozens (maybe 100s) of types & applications of
each. Different voltages, wattages, beam patterns, connectors, etc. Aircraft
landing lights, taxi lights, auto head lights, security system lights, insect
repellent lights, stage lighting, and on & on. There are other PAR specs, too.
In general, the bigger the PAR #, the bigger the light's form factor.
Bonanza landing lights for Model 35 through M35 are 12 volt
PAR 46 and are mounted in the wing leading edges. The 40 gallon tanks, starting
with the N35, occupy the space where the wing-mounted lights went, so Beech
moved the landing light to the nose bowl and went to a single light. PAR 46 is
too large to fit there, so they used PAR 36. Later Bonanzas also have a 2nd PAR
36 taxi light mounted on the nose gear strut.
Old Bob adds: A 24 volt electrical system was fitted
during the 1978 Model year for the Bonanzas. Don't know about the Debbies and
Stretch Debbies (A36s).
Model number D-10120 was the first production 28 volt Bonanza
and I think it was built about June of 1978. D-10097 was the prototype 28 volt
PS: If these HID lights are too complicated
for your tastes, check out this Grote manufactured PAR36 LED replacement bulb
with 900 lumens
HERE for the CSOB price of $130 (of course at that price you get to figure
out the approval with your A&P/IA) . The bulb will work on 12 and 24 volt
systems! The spec sheet on the LED bulb is
Pics of the Grote PAR36 on an
A36 are below:
HERE is a
12V, PAR-46 LED Bulb PN: P46FLC from Whelen for ~$125. This could be an ideal
bulb replacement for the early Bonanza PAR-46 wing positions or the nose gear
mounted bulb with 12V electrical systems and/or generators. This bulb consumes
only ~2.3 amps and throws out 1600 lumens.
Reverse polarity protected.
Replaceable hard coated polycarbonate lens
provides increased durability and longevity.
Heavy-duty black powder coated die-cast
aluminum heat sink.
Industry standard brass slotted head
Available in Flood and Spot.
Internal thermal regulator maximizes the
lifespan of the LED diodes.
Internal circuitry and unique optics
provide an extremely intense and smooth 2° circular spotlight.
Ventilation system eliminates the
infiltration of moisture by providing a constant internal
Five-year HDP® Heavy-Duty Professional
Super-LED spotlight draws only
2.3 amps and provides (1600
lumens per watt than traditional
Halogen Lamp produces 1000 Lumens@
Class 5 EMI certified.
Below is a review from CSOBeech visitor and
Debonair owner, Curtis W., on his experiences in selecting this P46FLC bulb:
My aircraft has a single PAR46, and I was looking for a
drop-in replacement. I found the P46FLC was the best solution for me, at about
$125-130 from a variety of public safety product suppliers, but consistently
The light is very well made and compact, and from the
information I have available, identical to the Whelen Parametheus PLED461L,
which is $289.00 from Aircraft Spruce. I no longer see my alternator bog down
when turning on the light. At 50,000 hours of service life, you can leave the
thing on all the time if you want to. I do not have the markings to compare STC
numbers and such. I guess it's just not your day if you get grounded for having
the wrong landing light.
Realize that the light is more focused than an incandescent
bulb - you will not have the light scatter you would normally see with a taxi
light, which is both good and bad at times. The beam is 8 degrees wide, and the
light is more white than yellow. The light I am using is the P46FLC floodlight.
The C in the designation stands for "clear," so I'll omit that from further
discussion. Whelen also makes a P46SLC (2 degree beam spotlight) and P46WLC (20
x 60 degree wide angle light). If you only have one light like me, the FL is
probably what you need. The SL is a bit too focused, even as a landing light.
Also, the SL lens is much thicker, and protrudes from the front of the light
housing more, so this might lead to installation difficulties and problems with
the nose gear door not fully closing. The WL is thin like the FL, but the beam
is much wider and does not penetrate very far. It would probably make a great
taxi light, but is most likely not usable as a landing light.
If these "alternatives" are still too complicated,
perhaps consider finding yourself a pair of GE H7635 bulbs. The
H7635 is a PAR46 bulb rated for 100 hours and only pulls 3.5 amps and is 160,000
lumens vs. 200,000 for the #4513. Find a H7635
Scroll down at the link to "Phillips 35W HID"
just call 503-543-3653 and speak with Don Wentz. Don can get you a PAR-46
kit for the wings of your Baron or Bonanza. He reports that he is a HID supplier
with these PAR36 and PAR46 HID kits.
Lights draw a fraction of the amperage that an incandescent does and also
creates a fraction of the heat, which we all know has melted a few landing light
lenses in the wings. HID lights also produce so many more candle power of light
output and are listed with lamp life in thousands of hours, not tens or hundreds
of hours. Those aircraft owners with 14V electrical systems (especially aircraft
with generators) would be especially well advised to look into this type
of lighting upgrade.
A Beech Lister (Lance F., a
B55 owner) posted this about HID technology:
lights produce light from an arc in a Xenon gas. This is the same technology
that's been used in strobe lamps for many years, but over the last several years
a continuous arc adaptation was developed and is now common for headlights on
high end automobiles. The advantage is far greater efficiency which means more
light on less current and far less heat.
For example the HID lights in my Baron
wings consume 50W (yes, there are some 50 watt kits out there) each compared to
the original incandescent which needed 250W each and the HIDs put out something
like three to four times the light. With the incandescent about 240 of those 250
watts ends up as heat and that's sufficient to melt the plastic lens covers if
you operate the lights very long on the ground. The HIDs are so efficient that
only 10-20 watts are released as heat and some of that comes from the
doesn't affect the lens. BTW the "ballast" is actually a combination
of a medium voltage constant current source, and a high voltage
"igniter" (it takes a lot higher voltage to initiate the arc than it
does to sustain it because the arc produces a low resistance plasma for the
current to flow through)."
I love my 35 Watt PAR-36 HID
light in the nose of my B55. It is a flamethrower compared to an amp sucking 250 watt
I run it from engine start to shutdown, day and night. And
now I have them in the wing positions of my B55 as well and I'm very visible day
and night. See
the B55 HID nose light HERE
(Click through 2 pics).
see, on my 28 volt system I go from about a 9 amps of load (for a 250 watt
bulb) to a 1.25 amp load,
the light is waaaay brighter, will not melt anything on my airplane or any of my
parts and the bulb is reported to last thousands of hours! Folks, even for a
CSOB this is a no-brainer. See the Baron nose and wing
cavity install and Bonanza ballast box install pics
(Click thru 11 pics)
See Kevin O.'s Debonair Nose Bowl HID Install pic
The HID light must protrude forward somewhat
in the factory nose bug mount to clear structure behind the mount that would
come in contact with the bulb's transformer housing. Kevin's install comments
for his mounting method are:
"you have to trim a little off the top
(curved cut) and bottom to get it to fit in the early model nose bugs. I used
the factory doubler that had the nut plates installed. Be very careful when you
place the flush rivets---the nose bug is VERY soft metal.I have also
installed the 50 watt HID in the original holder. The 3 extra screws you
are to adjust (aim) the direction of the light." Kevin
For approval authority consult
your A&P/IA as to whether in their mind this qualifies as a MAJOR
alteration. I encourage you to carefully read 14CFR Part 43 Appendix A relating
to MAJOR alterations HERE
and you and your mechanic determine your course of action.
Below is the last I knew definition of MAJOR
Alteration from Part 43. Check the most recent FARs and with your a&p/IA for the
most up to date info for your aircraft.
FAR 43 App. A defines a major alteration:
(a) Major alterations —(1) Airframe major
alterations. Alterations of the following parts and alterations of the following
types, when not listed in the aircraft specifications issued by the FAA, are
airframe major alterations:
(ii) Tail surfaces.
(iv) Engine mounts.
(v) Control system.
(vi) Landing gear.
(vii) Hull or floats.
(viii) Elements of an airframe including spars, ribs, fittings, shock absorbers,
bracing, cowling, fairings, and balance weights.
(ix) Hydraulic and electrical actuating system of components.
(x) Rotor blades.
(xi) Changes to the empty weight or empty balance which result in an increase in
the maximum certificated weight or center of gravity limits of the aircraft.
(xii) Changes to the basic design of the fuel, oil, cooling, heating, cabin
pressurization, electrical, hydraulic, de-icing, or exhaust systems.
(xiii) Changes to the wing or to fixed or movable control surfaces which affect
flutter and vibration characteristics.
You may also consult the
following approved 337s for guidance on your approval process:
For those Bonanza owners looking for a nose
bowl HID install, while not exactly CSOB Duckworks territory, the
Knots 2 U
kit may be the way to go for ease of install and dreaded paperwork. It has
gotten rave reviews from BeechTalkers and here are some of the pics of the
The key to this whole kit is the carbon fiber fabricated
nose bowl mounting ring, which allows for the additional clearance the HID bulb needs in the nose
area of the Bonanzas. At $695, it's not CSOB, but you get all the dreaded
paperwork and a fabricated piece that would be tough to do as a one time piece,
Just my CSOB $0.02!
Here are some pireps from Beech owners with
the K2U kit:
I bought mine and installed it about six months before they had received the
STC, which I would guess is about 3 years ago. The deal was that they would send
the paperwork when they got it. It has worked flawlessly ever since and I run
with it on all the time. I fly just shy of 200 hours a year. When atc calls for
traffic, my traffic sees me before I see them. If it saves my life only twice,
it'll be paid for.
Marc C., A-36 Owner - Canada
We are finishing up installing a Knots2U HID landing light STC in our nose
bowl landing light location. The unit includes a compact power supply that is
mounted inside the nose bowl cavity in the area outboard of the air filter, and
a PAR36 size light assembly with a little component on the back that looks like
a transformer but makes the light 3.1" deep, too deep to use the existing
mounting assembly, which has the landing light recessed.
Knots2U supplies a carbon fiber mount to flush mount the light. Knots2U sent
us too different carbon fiber mounts, neither of which fit, because, we found
out, our nose bowl landing light is a modification someone installed on the Deb
with no log entry, no 337! Knots2U offered to make a mold from our existing
housing and from that make a carbon fiber mount for us, and we sent them the
housing and had them do it. The unit appears to fit perfectly. Tomorrow we
actually mount it on the airplane, all the electrical work is done and the power
supply is mounted. Paperwork wise, we are considering a log book entry that we
have installed the Knots2U HID nose bowl landing light in accordance with the
STC, which will solve the problem of the existing nose bowl landing light
modification with no documentation.
Knots2U's STC lists (among others) both the Deb's model number (35-A33) but
more importantly the TCDS number, which our Bonanza owning A&P AI said is the
same for all 35s, 33s and 36s starting with the H35. He claims his particular
H35 was the prototype for that TCDS.
We wanted the HID light for 3 reasons:
1, safety, you leave it on all the time, and it is very bright, many times
brighter than the light it is replacing.
2. reduce electrical load, if we turn on everything, including the 250 watt
nose gear mounted PAR 46 landing light (4522), the load exceeds the InterAv 50
amp alternator's capacity and the ammeter shows a little discharge. The HID
light is 35 watts, less than 3 amps, while the 100 watt light it is replacing is
over 8 amps. (Algebra, volts times amps equals
3. it isn't any fun to replace the nose bowl landing light with eight little
screws with self locking nuts inside the nose bowl cavity holding the assembly
in place, takes me over an hour to replace it. The life of the HID bulb is over
5,000 hours, prolly won't ever need to change it. The life of the 4509 landing
light is 20 hours (!) and the life of the Q4509 we had installed I believe is
200 hours, if the filament assembly inside the sealed beam doesn't break off
before it burns out, which ours have done in the past.
Stan S., A-33 Owner - KSAC
I did this process a few months ago and, for sake of others considering the
upgrade, will add the following two observations relative to my B33
installation. Dan Gibson had some tweaking to do with his (last year at this
time), so he may have something to add to the KB, as well.
(1) There are two styles of nose bowls on our planes and the transition from
a blunter (vertical) nose to a later, more rakish backward sloping nose under
the propeller (where the light is) happened some time during our A and B series
of Model 33. The carbon bezel they sent with my kit was flat and, as it turns
out, my plane has the newer backward sloping nose bowel. As such, the flat bezel
pointed my new lamp right at the ground about 6 feet out in front of the plane.
K2U (no affiliation with Yours Truly) sent me the alternate bezel that is canted
upwards and that resolved the problem. Perhaps they now send both bezels for
planes in the 62-64 mystery time frame.
(2) I purchased the landing light with the very narrow optics. The first time
I landed in the dark with the light on I was very disappointed in the amount of
runway illumination, even on short final. A blue smudge, as I recall. Turning on
the taxi light on the nose gear helped tremendously. Moreover, I made a pass by
Mather on the way back to CamPark from PAO andasked the tower if they could see
me at all (1500') as I approached from the south: Nope. Same experiment with the
PAO tower as I approached from the North over the bay at 1000: no joy. My guess
is that the beam is so focused that the viewer has to be directly in front of
the beam to see it.
I replaced the reflector assembly with the highly faceted "recognition"
version and, while it does not give you the focused beam down the runway or taxi
way, the visibility for other aircraft and the tower is much improved. And, the
visibility to other aircraft was my primary goal. The nose gear light does fine
for me serving as the landing light. With the faceted reflector, PAO tower now
can see me as I pass Coyote Hills on the east side of the bay and that leaves
them ample time to move all the women, children and gas trucks to the bunker
before I attempt to land.
The K2U guys were great while I worked through my issues. Installation was a
snap on my plane, probably because I did not have a preceding custom
installation to deal with! :o)
Kevin C., B33 Owner - KPAO
OK so here is the super secret
Phillips 35W HID pricing deal Don Wentz at
Check out Duckworks Special Beech Lister Promo
He will give Beech Listers the following pricing on
EITHER lamp form factor,PAR-36
Buy two Phillips 35W HID Kits (take your pick of PAR-36 or
PAR-46) at a price of $530 for the pair plus shipping
Buy one Phillips 35W HID Kit (take your pick of PAR-36 or
PAR-46) at a price of $275 each plus shipping
Be sure to specify your voltage and be sure to
you are from "The Beech List"
He now takes credit cards and accepts
checks and PayPal. Once again:
you are on your own for the dreaded
337 and/or STC"paperwork"