LED caution warning panels from Luma tailored for King Air cockpits

Oct. 21, 2010
ATLANTA, 21 Oct. 2010. Luma Technologies introduced their new LT-4500 line of integrated light emitting diode (LED) caution warning panels for a two panel suite specifically tailored for the King Air 200, 300/350, 350i, and 1900D aircraft at this year's National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) show in Atlanta.
Posted by John McHaleATLANTA, 21 Oct. 2010. Luma Technologies introduced their new LT-4500 line of integrated light emitting diode (LED) caution warning panels for a two panel suite specifically tailored for the King Air 200, 300/350, 350i, and 1900D aircraft at this year's National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) show in Atlanta. One of the key benefits of the new panels over the aircraft's existing annunciators is the use of the latest LED technology in lieu of incandescent lamps known for their low operational life and problematic Cap/Lampholder Assemblies. Luma's LT-4500 line offers improved lighting and visual appearance combined with the benefits of low-temperature operation and increased panel reliability. All units carry a five year warranty. Night-vision compatible versions are also available.The majority of existing aircraft are currently fitted with banks of "press to relamp" incandescent annunciators ganged together to make up the King Air's glareshield mounted warning panel and lower caution-advisory panel just forward of the ship's throttle quadrant. The LT-4500 line includes six separate panel sizes which are installed as a drop-in replaceable two panel suite for the model in question. They also provide enhanced EMC/EMI protection and with their solid-face appearance are an attractive compliment to the newer displays and avionics systems being installed today. A key feature of all LT-4500 offerings is that they are specifically designed to be a one for one drop-in replacement to the existing incandescent units with immediate plug-n-play functionality. "The installation process is very straightforward and definitely a low-risk undertaking," says Luma's president Bruce Maxwell. "Confirmation of a proper install is to simply trigger or simulate a signal from the various sensors being monitored to confirm the correct station illuminates on either panel. Follow that up by pushing the press-to-test button and a bright/dim check to verify those circuits are also functioning as intended and you're done. There's obviously a bit more to it than that but it's all done on the ground; there's no flight testing involved."Maxwell says he has applied for an AML STC and is on track to have it available in the November/December timeframe. The first will be on the 1900Ds with the 200, 300/350, and 350i versions following immediately. The intent is to bundle or sell a license with each two-panel suite to help expedite the installation process at a fraction of the cost."I cringe every time I see a photo or advertisement of a beautiful new glass cockpit, only to have it overshadowed by those same old annunciators. It's like changing your oil, but not the filter", he said. "It just doesn't make any sense," Maxwell saysLuma Technologies has several other platforms waiting in the wings. Following the King Air series, Luma will be certifying similar offerings for the BeechJet 400A/XP platform, Cessna Citation 500/CJ family, older Falcons, and various rotary-winged programs as well. Like the King Air / 1900D package, each will have the same drop-in replaceable plug-n-play simplicity. The STCs will be held by a sister company specifically formed to apply for and manage all in-house certifications of Luma products on their behalf.The majority of existing OEM annunciator panels are based on a traditional legacy-style design dating back to the general aviation boom of the mid-sixties when the King Air and other well known platforms first came on scene. While most manufacturers of this type of annunciator have taken steps to enhance lighting performance, the design of these and other similar style annunciators have changed little over the years.The number one benefit of Luma's all LED system is increased safety and pilot awareness through the elimination of burned out lamps and the subsequent need for bulb replacements. "All things being equal, you should never have to replace another lamp or take a lamp related delay again," Maxwell says. Other benefits offered by the LEDs include the elimination of scalding hot lens temperatures when the panels are in test mode or have had several cells triggered while the aircraft is powered up in the hangar or waiting at the ramp before departure. This added heat has also been identified as a major factor in premature aging and brittleness which can lead to breakage or irregular alignment and appearance of the panels' numerous cap assemblies. "Ask anyone who's sat in the front seat for awhile and you'll hear snickers and stories of matchbook covers or bits of a business card wedged in to prevent intermittencies," Maxwell says. "That's just the way it's always been with those things." Luma's LT-4500 offerings are a single integrated unit for either of the glareshield or center console positions with an attractive singular cast legend plate covering the LEDs and electronics within. Each panel is a plug-n-play one for one replacement for the existing upper and lower positions. Also, despite the ten-fold increase in lamp life of LEDs, each channel has redundant circuit paths to prevent single point lamp failures in any cell. In the unlikely event a string of LEDs should fail, the cell would continue to illuminate brightly while also alerting the pilot or maintenance personnel that future maintenance is required. When properly packaged and protected, LEDs offer rated lamp lives exceeding 100 kilowat hours. The calculated mean-time-between-failure for Luma's LT-4500 product line ranges from 24,000 to 115,000 hours depending on the number of cells and system complexity.For more information, visit www.lumatech.com.

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