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Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sat Sep 13, 2003 2:58 pm

I check maintenence records of aircraft a lot, and it seems, without exagerration that about 75% of maintenance entries pertain to "emergency exit path lights inoperative".

What is up with that? It doesn't matter what the aircraft.

Why do they never work?

Phil Derner Jr.
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Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2002 3:34 am

RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sat Sep 13, 2003 5:37 pm

Isn't this a safety item ?? I've known a flight being cancelled as the aft cabin p/a system was not working.
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RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sat Sep 13, 2003 5:51 pm

On most a/c the floorpath lighting is on the floor (as against built into the seats). Being on the floor it naturally get troddon on, but in addition it is also attacked by vacuum cleaners every t/round and it is not unknown for the wiring to be cut when new carpet is fitted
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RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sun Sep 14, 2003 5:13 am

Some of the emergency floor path lights can be inop, but with limitations. The airline's minimum equipment list (MEL) will specify acceptable configurations.

There are several different vendors of these systems, but in the simplest of terms (using a 737 as an example) they have single white lights (20-24 inches apart) in the aisle, and 4-6 (depending upon the vendor) red lights wherever there is an exit. The MEL says at least 1/2 of all the white lights must be operative, and no two adjacent white lights may be inop. The MEL also says no more than 2-3 of the red lights at the exits can be inop. Anything other than that, you must fix it before it flies.

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
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RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:16 am

The exit path lighting sees a very abusive life. Lights mounted on tracks in the floor usually have wires running under the carpet, where they get run over, wet with coffee, cola etc....

The seat mounted lights get smashed by careless passengers with heavy bags and cabin attendants with galley carts. The wiring usually is ty-rapped under the seat and is frequently damaged by passengers trying to stuff huge peices of luggage under the seat.

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RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:53 am

My airline is removing the exit path lighting from our fleet, as it is prone to damage and can delay flights while it is fixed, and repairs can be complex when dealing with wiring under the cabin floor.

The exit path lighting is being replaced with photoluminescent strips on the floor of the aircraft along the aisle. Any gap in the strip down the aisle indicates an exit at that point - the system is that simple. The initial investment is high, the photoluminescent strips cost approx £300 per metre, but they are totally self contained, require no power source and very little maintenace, and most importantly are totally reliable!

Hopefully, over the lifetime of the aircraft the investment will be more than repaid in reduced maintenance costs, and improved reliability.

The photo below shows a Finnair 757 with the same photoluminescent strips - you'll have to look at the large version to really see them.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Pekka Lehtinen

Not the best photo, but the only one I could find in the database. While still quite rare, I think this type of exit path marking will become very common over the next couple of years as airlines get over the initial costs and realise the long term cost and reliability benefits...

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RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sun Sep 14, 2003 10:54 am

So once installed does the safety speach change from "whtie lights lead to red lights indicating that you have reached or are near an exit to" "low level photoluminescent strips are installed along the aisles an absence of such strip indicates that you have reached or are near an exit" ???
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RE: Emergency Exit Path Lighting

Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:42 pm

Good reminder Crosswind,

I've seen this before on aircraft (although I can't remember where now). But I was wondering about the difference. It does make a lot of sense and I'm sure it will pay off in the long run.

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