Just as a good paint job on the exterior of your aircraft sets the mood for your passengers, so, too, does good lighting in the cabin. Both make a first impression and can either build or erode your customer’s confidence.
Also like exterior paint, however, cabin lighting choices are about more than just aesthetics. Good lighting means more efficiency, less cost and fewer replacements. To get both – aesthetics and efficiency – upgrading to new, LED lights is often the best solution.
Our professionals recently weighed in on why LED lighting solutions might be right for your aircraft cabin upgrade.
What’s wrong with the old lights?
Older wash lighting systems were built on cold cathode/fluorescent lighting technology. While this was once considered new, exciting technology, over time, it has proven to be out-performed by LEDs. Fluorescent bulbs do not age at the same rate, causing inconsistent lighting intensity, or dim areas. These dim areas detract from your cabin’s aesthetics and they frustrate passengers who expect good lighting while they travel.
While incandescent lighting does not suffer from the same inconsistency in lighting, the heat generated from these bulbs, often used for reading and table lights, can disfigure diffusers through melting or warping, and it can discolor or burn interior fabric. Fluorescent lights also suffer from heat loss, which causes premature failure of bulbs, ballasts, power supplies, and damage to writing and interior fabric or diffusers.
How do LED lights help?
LED lights greatly out-perform incandescent lights for longevity, often signified by MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure). While incandescent lights only have a useful life of about 1,000 hours, an LED bulb can last for more than 30,000 hours. Fluorescent lights technically have comparable longevity to LED lights, but they age poorly and inconsistently, with pockets of dimness.
According to the Department of Energy (Link: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting) LED lights use 75% less energy than incandescent lighting, and because they have a longer life, they require less costly replacements and fewer hours spent on the ground for maintenance. LED lights used in aircraft also contribute less to the overall weight of the aircraft (they are about 40% lighter than incandescent bulbs), therefore increasing fuel economy.
LED lights generate less heat than do other bulbs, and their heat is contained within the heat sync. For aircraft operators, that means less damage to wiring, fabric, and diffusers. Less heat from your cabin lights also means savings when it comes to cooling the interior air.
Reliability and Comfort
LED lights age consistently, with few pockets of dim lighting, and because they are more focused, they decrease unwanted light splash that can be intrusive to fellow passengers. LED lights also have fewer problems with unwanted electrical noise and annoying buzzes.
Because LED light are small (individual LEDs can be up to just a few millimeters), the options are endless for design and layout. LEDs come in a variety of shades and colors, and operators can even choose different color options, which can be switched between for different mood lighting, within the same matrix. And due to their smaller size, LEDs can fit in more unconventional areas of the cabin than can traditional bulbs. Additionally, LED brightness can be controlled from 0-100% for different intensities of design and effect.
If you are ready to bring your cabin’s lighting into the new millennium for maximum efficiency, comfort, safety and design, call C&L today to discuss your options. Our team has unparalleled knowledge and experience converting old incandescent and fluorescent lights into new LED systems.