LED in airplanes
Singapore, 17th February 2014
Fresh from attending the Singapore Air Show, I of course could not resist looking around for the latest technology in lighting. Airplane design surely is leading the way at the edge of technology and therefore the latest in lighting technology should be expected. For those amongst you who travel frequently like myself, you have all seen the gradual switch to LED lighting in the planes and not only that, the introduction of coloured mood scenes on longer haul flights. Light to ease your flight angst, light to help you rest and relax, light to prep you up for a meal, it’s all happening and now I have been able to figure out how.
On one of the stands (Lufthansa Technik) as well as on the Airbus stand itself I was able to piece together how they do it…because till now I was just guessing. And to be honest I was guessing wrongly, because so far I was not able to look “inside” the guts of the plane to actually see the type of lighting equipment used. The technology that I saw is developed by Schott, one of world’s leading glass manufacturers and uses their expertise in transporting light through glass. Schott has always been one of my few trusted fiber optic manufacturers and therefore it is not surprising to see them combine their expertise and experience in the manufacturing glass and fiber optic lighting with LED technology. Two of the main issues that pop up with linear LED are the evenness (no spots or shadows) and the stability and consistency of the colour and this system seems to address and resolve this to perfection. I can just wonder about the price, but what I saw looks flawless. Should we consider this in our architectural lighting projects? I don’t generally promote a special product but this is a rather unique technology that I would like to share.
On top of that the RGBW LED optic units allow the programming of the lighting scenes and because they are located in between the tubes, should there be any failure it is easy to replace. Moreover the tubes can be customised to length so they can fit the different aircraft types. Definitely something to think about!
Light Watch 5-24: Images from the Schott Heliojet brochure in which we can appreciate the high performance technology combining LED and Glass Optic technology. The video is certainly instructive, have a look.