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A Bright Solution for the Cessna CitationJet Family

Cessna wanted to upgrade the exterior lighting system on its popular CitationJet family to improve reliability and performance while reducing power consumption and weight.  The existing system used fragile halogen light bulbs which require frequent replacement—a big dissatisfier for customers.  LED technology seemed like the obvious solution.  While off-the-shelf navigation and anti-collision lights existed, Cessna could not find satisfactory LED-based solutions for wing inspection lights, tail flood (logo) lights, and landing lights.  These aircraft-specific lights required a custom approach based on the emerging high power LED technology. 

Heads Up’s background in electro-optics and high-performance power supplies made it the natural choice. 

As any pilot who has landed on a dark runway will attest, when it comes to aircraft landing lights, more light is better.  “The challenge of this project was to improve the performance to the point that customers would notice the new difference” said Rob Harshaw, President/CEO of Heads Up.  “And performance in this case was all about brightness of the landing light” he added.  To accomplish this, Heads Up used an array state-of-the-art LEDs originally designed for automotive head lights and added custom optics and intelligent power supplies. 

“The custom optics allow us to maximize the light on the target” said Gabe Snyder, Sr. Mechanical Engineer at Heads Up.  “The result is more light – right where you need it.” The intelligent power supplies kept the LEDs running cool and improved reliability.  The reduction is power consumption was so significant, Cessna could reduce wire thickness, remove ballasts, and simplify mounting.  The net weight savings was over twelve (12) lbs.

Heads Up delivered the certified lights on-time and on-budget.  The landing light is believed to be the first certified LED landing light on any jet aircraft.  “While we were pleased with the end result, we knew we were successful when pilots of older CJ’s started asking how they could get these lights on their aircraft.” Harshaw said.

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