The "Strobe Saga"
Contributed by Ben Favrholdt, N66MX, of Porterville, CA
Many years ago, the FAA mandated that if you wanted to fly at night, you had to have a strobe light that would show a pattern of 20 degrees up and 20 degrees down as seen from the front of the aircraft.
Wanting to be legal, and because I flew the Mite at night quite often, I called the Flight Standards Office in Washington, D.C. to find out where I would have to mount the strobe on the Mite to satisfy their requirements.
I told them that if I mounted the strobe on the bottom of the fuselage, I would comply with the 20 degrees down, but because of the wing I wouldn't get the 20 degrees up. And if I mounted the strobe on the top of the fuselage, I would comply with the 20 degrees up, but because of the wing I wouldn't get the 20 degrees down. Also if the strobe was on the top of the fuselage, there might be a problem with 'flicker vertigo' because of the reflections from the prop.
The inspector told me that he would look into this matter and call me back.
A few days later, he called me and told me the following: "You know more about Mooney Mites than we do, so why don't you mount the strobe where you think it should be, and we will accept that."