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Old 01-16-2010, 02:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ColinThePilot's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 13, 2005
Location: Who knows anymore
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Anyone use a lip-light?

I've been flying for eight or nine years, the last four being military. In my civilian days, I flew my share of night hours, and lighting was always an issue. I needed both hands to fly, and holding a mini-maglite in my mouth hindered communication. I rarely wore a hat under my headset, and hat mounted lights weren't common anyway. Some guys used head lights, but that destroys the whole "Cool Pilot" image.

My first year flying in the Air Force was almost all day flying, and light wasn't much of an issue. I was always in the back of a dimly-lit 737 (T-43) or in a dark simulator, but the lights were just bright enough to read, and dark enough to see the radar scope.

The problem is, some navigators will go to airplanes like that, but many of us didn't. I fly C-130's these days, and I am up front, in the green-house cockpit with the pilots. I see all the daylight, or all the dark. And we keep it dark at night. We also use Night Vision, so white or red lights are a big no-no. The dimmest red or white light is a spotlight to NVG's. We use green lights.

Fortunately, the Air Force issued us Lip-lights on our headsets and helmets. I never saw anything like this in civilian aviation, though I googled them a few minutes ago and they are available. Most are a few small LED's that mount under the boom mic, and a small wire runs up the boom to a battery pack that velcro's anywhere you choose to mount it on your headset. Mine sits right on top of the head band. The switch is on the back of the light, and is activated by your lip. Just kiss the mic and your light comes on. Kiss it again and it turns off.

I have no idea why these haven't caught on in civil aviation, but if you're looking for a convenient, hands-free cockpit light, it might be something to look at.
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