LED headlights are commonly associated with automobiles, but they are also used on various industry-specific vehicles and craft, including locomotives, airfield vehicles, and more. There are multiple advantages to incorporating LED headlights into industrial applications, including reductions in energy consumption, lower temperature operation, and a significantly longer bulb life, which contributes to fewer replacements, less maintenance and waste.
An LED (light-emitting diode) is not a bulb in the conventional sense. Instead, they are semi-conductor light sources that create less heat and require far less energy to produce illumination. There is no filament to burn out, therefore LEDs will provide a much longer operational life compared to incandescent, halogen, and sealed beam headlights. The tone and brightness of LEDs have a somewhat different quality compared to conventional bulbs, but modern headlight manufacturers have made many advancements in developing products with a range of light and tone qualities. As LEDs can be made quite small, headlights may be comprised of many groups of individual LEDs.
Although non-LEDs are still found in a wide range of aviation and locomotive settings, OEMs and maintenance professionals are seeking upgrades to older headlights and light bulbs. For example, an LED landing light may be used in place of a halogen landing light now that LEDs can provide the lumens required in these vital applications and costs have been reduced.
There are, however, many considerations to take underway before bulbs can simply be swapped out for LEDs with compatible wattages and base types. An authorized lighting distributor can provide guidance on which LED bulbs and lamps are suitable replacements for incandescents, halogens, fluorescents, sealed beam, etc. Such a source can also provide direct access to aviation and locomotive-specific LED headlights that are made by leading manufacturers. These products are usually only available through a supplier or distributor. Manufacturers may only sell directly to larger OEMs.
How bright are LED landing and taxi lights?
LED landing lights and LED taxi lights are two forms of aviation lighting. They must perform a vital function in the operations of an aircraft and on airfields and therefore need to be bright and reliable in all manner of conditions. LED landing and taxi lights will typically have an output between 6000 and 8000 lumens, making them many times brighter than LED headlights used on automobiles. In addition to being very bright, LED landing and taxi lights are often described as sharper or more intense than halogen, sealed beam, and other types of conventional aviation lighting.
Why are LED taxi lights blue and green?
Colored LED taxi lights are used as visibility aids as well as a form of communication. The blue taxi lights are also known as taxiway edge lights that mark the path of the runway. Green taxi lights are used as part of guidance systems that lead the craft from the gate to its departing runway and vice-versa for arrivals. Additional taxi lights, usually clear, amber, or warm-white LEDs, are used in approach/touchdown lighting systems and as centerline lights. Red LED taxi lights are used to indicate the runway end/threshold or in stop bar/closed zones. Taxi lights are necessary for nighttime airfield operations and during low-visibility conditions, including fog, smog, snow, and heavy rain. The varied colors are essential in communicating a range of runway conditions and attributes to the pilot.