Duncan Aviation is the largest family-owned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the world, providing acquisition sales and support services for business aircraft. Throughout nearly 20 hangars across its headquarters in Lincoln, Neb., workers complete service, modifications, parts and support capabilities for most makes and models of business aircraft. A necessity for technicians repairing aircraft large and small, quality lighting helps them perform key tasks inside the hangars and avert avoidable mistakes like dropping a tool.
When maintenance is required in the hangars themselves, aircraft must be stationed elsewhere to avoid any damage, but repairs must be done swiftly as time is of the essence. Therefore, energy-efficient lighting with long-rated lifetimes was determined to be ideal for the space.
“We wanted improved lighting for our aircraft maintenance hangars,” said Jeff Lake, vice president and chief operating officer for Duncan Aviation. “We also were hoping to achieve more efficient use of electricity and less maintenance, specifically with fewer needs for changing out fixtures or replacing burned-out lamps.”
GE's Albeo LED high bay lighting fixtures were installed in Duncan Aviation's new 150,000-square-foot hangar, which was completed in 2014 in response to customer needs and the fact that corporate jets keep getting larger. The response to the new lighting, suspended from the 50-foot ceiling, was so positive that the Albeo fixture soon was identified as a retrofit solution for other existing hangars.
“Retrofitting the entire campus came to fruition as a grassroots-like effect. The technicians were so impressed by the great lighting quality in the new hangar, they continuously made comments to management, who looked at solutions for the older hangars,” said Bob Philipps, project executive with Commonwealth Electric, who helped select the new fixtures. “It's the best quality lighting we've worked with.”
Results & Benefits
Workers have already replaced legacy metal halide fixtures in three hangars with the LED lighting fixtures, which improved foot-candle levels from 75 fc to 100 fc. The Albeo fixtures, hung from 30-foot ceilings and expected to provide more than $15,000 in annual energy savings in just the three facilities, will illuminate all hangars throughout Duncan Aviation's campus within the next few years. Additional savings are found through diminished maintenance needs due to the rated 100,000-hour life of the Albeo fixture compared to a 20,000-rated life of metal halides.
“The biggest selling point besides energy and light quality is the lack of maintenance,” said Philipps. “Since it takes so much effort getting the planes out of the hangar to do work on the fixtures, something requiring less maintenance such as LED lighting saves money and time.”
The Duncan Aviation team worked with Tectonic Management Group, a general contractor that did a similar installation in Alaska. Teri Persinger, project specialist with Graybar, a leading distributor of high quality electrical, communications and data networking products and provider of related supply chain management solutions, worked with the Tectonic Management Group specifying team to pinpoint the ultimate lighting solution.
“With all the maintenance issues, specifically lamp and ballast replacement, and the nuisance of having to move multimillion dollar aircraft to accommodate such work, it didn't take long to realize that the originally specified product—a 10-lamp linear fluorescent high bay luminaire—was not going to be feasible,” Persinger said. “We worked with Commonwealth Electric and Tectonic to identify alternate solutions in an LED offering. I had previously sold Albeo LED high bay lighting fixtures, so I was happy to share my experience, addressing the quality, ease of installation, performance and light output of the Albeo six-bar LED fixture.”
Tectonic Management Group visited a hangar in Arkansas illuminated by Albeo fixtures and became sold on GE, Persinger said.
“With the goal of keeping overhead down and Duncan Aviation moving in a green direction, this was overall the right choice,” said Philipps. “The senior executive team is impressed by the light quality and more so because technicians now have great light quality when repairing the aircraft.”