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Aircraft Lighting the Subject of New SAE International Standard

WARRENDALE, Pa., May 9, 2006 - In the dark of night or through storm clouds, external lighting plays a crucial role in the safety of an aircraft.

High intensity discharge (HID) light sources on aircraft are becoming more popular. Basically, in HID sources, a capsule of gas replaces the traditional filament at the light source. Generally, HID lights last longer and offer a whiter, brighter light.

The SAE Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) 5647 – "High Intensity Discharge Light Sources," recommends best practices when using HID lamps and power supplies in aircraft applications.  

"For lighting applications, this is the first document that outlines some of the safety considerations that need to be looked at," Philippe Lapujade, Optical Engineering Team Lead, Goodrich Lighting Systems, and ARP5647 document sponsor, said. "(HID) is a new technology that operates differently than traditional halogen bulb. We need to be aware of how it is used and how it behaves."

One of the main differences between HID and halogen lamps is the time it takes to get to full luminous output. The HID can take several seconds to reach maximum output. Such qualities are addressed in the ARP5647 document. "We've addressed UV safety and high-voltage safety. To my knowledge, this is the first document that addresses these HID applications," Lapujade said.

 ARP5647 was written and created by SAE International's A-20 Aircraft Lighting Committee.



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