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Photoluminescent Emergency Lighting Strips  
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6536 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6243 times:

It seems that in the U.S., many regional airlines and LCCs seem to use the photoluminescent emergency lighting strips on the floor. However, they seem to be less popular with legacy airlines, which generally tend to favor lights on the sides of the seats. Is there any reason why?

I know that in the past, floor light strips were common, however, they have seemed to have dissappeared from most airliners in the U.S., with airlines either switching to photoluminescent floor strips or seat-mounted lights. I think the only aircraft in the Delta fleet that still has the floor light strips are the MD-90s. However, this soon could change as they put in new seats on the them (the ex-TWA 752s initially had floor light strips until DL installed the new seats on them).


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6217 times:

I've only been seeing the photoluminsent strips in the last few years on newer aircraft....


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6197 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
I've only been seeing the photoluminsent strips in the last few years on newer aircraft....

Well, which airline do you usually fly? Most LCCs generally have the photoluminescent strips on their newer aircraft, however, this can't be said of the legacies. Last summer I flew on a CO 739ER and from what I remember it had seat-mounted lights. However, from what I heard, CO's ex-ATA 753s still have the photoluminescent strips.

As far as I know, none of DL's mainline aircraft have photoluminescent strips; all have seat-mounted lights, except for the MD-90s which have floor lights.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 6046 times:



Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 2):

Well, which airline do you usually fly?

I work on aircraft...

Early ERJ's had light strips... the newer ones have photoluminscent strips

It may also just be an operators option as to what they want when they ordered the plane. The light strips require more parts, weigh much more, require routine maintenance and if the fail... you're grounded till they get fixed. Photoluminescent strips are light weight, require almost no maintenance, don't break.. but do require the cabin crew to 'charge' them before a flight. You need to turn all the cabin lights on and open the shades to allow maximum light enter the cabin.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5969 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 3):
The light strips

As I said, I rarely see floor light strips anymore. Most of the U.S. legacies seem to use the lights on the sides of the seats nowadays on their mainline aircraft. As for RJs, you are right that the photoluminescent strips are common.

Also, I don't know if this is true, however, I heard that the photoluminescent strips are not approved for use on Boeing widebodies. Can anyone confirm? I've never seen them on a Boeing widebody aircraft.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1952 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5895 times:



Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 4):
Also, I don't know if this is true, however, I heard that the photoluminescent strips are not approved for use on Boeing widebodies. Can anyone confirm? I've never seen them on a Boeing widebody aircraft.

TWA used them fleetwide....DC-9 to 747.

Emergency lights on the floor (especially the Bruce Industries light tracks) take a lot of abuse from everyday use. I think that is why they started mounting them on the seats



This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offline1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5894 times:



Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 5):
TWA used them fleetwide....DC-9 to 747.

Emergency lights on the floor (especially the Bruce Industries light tracks) take a lot of abuse from everyday use. I think that is why they started mounting them on the seats

Interesting; I thought DL's ex-TWA 752s originally had floor light bulb strips with (rather than photoluminescent strips), but I guess I was wrong. Still, DL replaced them with the seat mounted lights after they got their new seats. The MD-90 remains the only aircraft in the Delta fleet that still has the floor light bulb strips, however, this is likely to change as the MD-90s will soon be getting the new slimline seats.



The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineMarkhkg From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5892 times:



Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 4):
I heard that the photoluminescent strips are not approved for use on Boeing widebodies

One company that makes Safe-T-Glo (STG Aerospace) does state they are approved for use on the Boeing/MD family, including the widebodies.

http://www.stgaerospace.com/SafTGlo/Default.aspx

Incidentally, the color matching does allow it to be installed without people realizing its on the floor.



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1452 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5853 times:

There are several generations of floor path lighting. The first type was the floor track mounted "Christmas Tree" lights commonly made by Bruce Industries. This is a wired system with battery back-up, but as stated above, they take much abuse and are not terribly reliable. They are also subject to some strict serviceability requirements where only a few actual lights were allowed to be in-op per the MEL.

The next type was also floor mounted, but replaced the lights with a electro-luminescent strip. This was also wire with battery back-up with better reliability.

One of the most common types is seat mounted lights and while they are wired with battery back-up, there are less lights than a floor mounted system so reliability is better. This system also allows for much easier carpet arrangement as the strips are not upset by the floor track.

The latest generation is the photoluminescent made by STG Aerospace as Saf-T-Glo as mentioned above. This is the simplest system and virtually maintenance free as it entirely charged by light similar to "glow in the dark" and only requires about a 20-30 daily charge prior to the first flight of the day. There are no wires or batteries at all with this system. The only slight downside is that its floor mounted and requires a new carpet layout if going from seat mounted. If going from floor mounted lights, it is a must easier transition. As mentioned, ATA was the first to have this system installed as original equipment by Boeing from the factory on the 738 and 753. CO has decided to keep it on the ex-ATA 753s that they have now. Because its so simple and reliable, its becoming much more popular with the airlines.



35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
User currently offlineMarkhkg From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5810 times:



Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 8):
The only slight downside is that its floor mounted and requires a new carpet layout if going from seat mounted

My other question would be... "Can you really see photoluminescent light strips in heavy smoke?"

One of the reasons we have the technology today was the devestating DC-9 Air Canada fire, but for some reason I'm under the impression that these strips really only work in the dark, rather than in heavy smoke. I suppose you could "follow the white line" if you hug the floor, but some of the new Safe-T-Glo stips are color matched to the carpet and aren't as obvious.

Truth be told though that smoke obsecures incandescent/LED emergency lighting and those other Red emergency signs anyway (as indicated by research) so those can be essentially useless as well.



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1452 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5774 times:



Quoting Markhkg (Reply 9):
My other question would be... "Can you really see photoluminescent light strips in heavy smoke?"

If it did not for the intent it was designed, it would never get FAA STC approval. The following is an excerpt from 14 CFR 25.810 Emergency Lighting:

(d) The floor of the passageway leading to each floor-level passenger emergency exit, between the main aisles and the exit openings, must be provided with illumination that is not less than 0.02 foot-candle measured along a line that is within six inches of and parallel to the floor and is centered on the passenger evacuation path.
(e) Floor proximity emergency escape path marking must provide emergency evacuation guidance for passengers when all sources of illumination more than 4 feet above the cabin aisle floor are totally obscured. In the dark of the night, the floor proximity emergency escape path marking must enable each passenger to--
(1) After leaving the passenger seat, visually identify the emergency escape path along the cabin aisle floor to the first exits or pair of exits forward and aft of the seat; and
(2) Readily identify each exit from the emergency escape path by reference only to markings and visual features not more than 4 feet above the cabin floor.



35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
User currently offlineMarkhkg From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5761 times:



Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 10):
Floor proximity emergency escape path marking must provide emergency evacuation guidance for passengers when all sources of illumination more than 4 feet above the cabin aisle floor are totally obscured.

This is actually kind of my question: does this test accurately reflect real world conditions. Although smoke technically rises, side wall vents and air recirculation can force smoke back into the floor level area, obscuring even the floor level below 4'. During cabin safety training our trainers pointed this out as an example why not all air carriers teach people to "get low" during an evacuation.

Evacution trials and studies involving theatrical smoke very rarely are conducted on aircraft in the air for obvious safety concerns. Most, if not all, are done on ground aircraft, which arguably isn't real world when the aircraft isn't pressurized and smoke is billowing into the cabin like Valujet. Some makers of alternative evacuation devices - such as directional acoustic sounders - have pointed out that smoke will adversely affect the performance of these strips.

And the FAA regulations only requires trials to certify the product when the cabin is dark, rather than a smoke filled aircraft. I don't think the path lighting system even has a TSO standard.



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1452 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5744 times:

Quoting Markhkg (Reply 11):
This is actually kind of my question: does this test accurately reflect real world conditions. Although smoke technically rises, side wall vents and air recirculation can force smoke back into the floor level area, obscuring even the floor level below 4'. During cabin safety training our trainers pointed this out as an example why not all air carriers teach people to "get low" during an evacuation.

I cannot really answer this other than the current regulation was based on and revised as a result of some of the cabin fire incidents over the last 2-3 decades, but nothing is perfect and 100% effective. I don't think there is any actual routine verbal instructions to passengers to get low other than possibly on a safety card though I would think that would be part of F/A training. Also, on the ground when one would actually evacuate and have a need for the system, there would generally be little to no air circulation to force smoke around. The FAA determined that 4ft is the nominal design height to use, above which any system would be ineffective though actual smoke layers may vary.

Quoting Markhkg (Reply 11):
Evacution trials and studies involving theatrical smoke very rarely are conducted on aircraft in the air for obvious safety concerns. Most, if not all, are done on ground aircraft, which arguably isn't real world when the aircraft isn't pressurized and smoke is billowing into the cabin like Valujet. Some makers of alternative evacuation devices - such as directional acoustic sounders - have pointed out that smoke will adversely affect the performance of these strips.

There is no need to do inflight passenger evacuation trials with smoke since one cannot evacuate in flight and there is no point to any exit markings. Also, ground testing uses darkness that most closely matches the conditions expected since obviously an actual burning condition cannot be re-created nor can the actual smoke density of an actual fire be modelled. However, the FAA has performed many tests of actual aircraft cabins in burning conditions using dummies for material testing and I assume some of the early floor path lighting testing in the 1980s. With what knowledge we have now on this subject, there has not been sufficient concern by either the FAA or industry to warrant any changes to make it more effective as you insinuate.

Quoting Markhkg (Reply 11):
And the FAA regulations only requires trials to certify the product when the cabin is dark, rather than a smoke filled aircraft. I don't think the path lighting system even has a TSO standard.

You are correct, they are not TSO'd, but a TSO standard is not necessarily a measure of greater safety. Many required cabin items are not TSO'd.

There are two Advisory Circulars AC25.812-1A and 25.812-2 that discuss this subject and provide FAA accepted means for complying with the rules.

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory...A99E2862569D10073284C?OpenDocument

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory...201FD862569D100732A41?OpenDocument

[Edited 2010-01-04 09:50:06]

[Edited 2010-01-04 09:51:33]


35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
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