|Incandescent bulbs, such as these found in
this P-3 instrument panel, may fade away with
the availability of new, long-lasting, adjustable
intensity LED bulbs. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy)
The Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md., has developed a dimmable LED bulb that, it says, has the potential to improve products in the aircraft and automotive industries.
Designed and patented by Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division engineer David Kayser over the past three years, the Variable Intensity LED Illumination System bulb can last more than 40,000 hours, Navair said. The Aircraft Division partnered with the Defense Logistics Agency to create the bulb for backlighting cockpit panels in naval aircraft, but found it has broader applications for other industries, such as auto, mining and construction.
“We still have a huge number of legacy [older] aircraft that use the common mini bulb,” Kayser said. “All the backlighting and mastery cautionary panels are all backlit with the 327 lamp.”
Kayser’s LED allows pilots to adjust the panel lighting without a dimmer circuit. It duplicates the same dimming pattern as the incandescent, allowing more flexibility in the amount of light to the panel Controlling the amount of light results in better visibility within the cockpit.
The LED lens was tailored for night vision, resulting in panel lighting that can be dimmed for either day or night flights.