Business aviation is introduced to Aircelle’s electro-luminescent display

November 19, 2015

Las Vegas – which is known for its distinctive lighted signs and branding – welcomed a unique new addition with Aircelle's innovative electro-luminescent markings for aircraft, which were shown at this week's NBAA 2015 Convention and Exhibition.

Presented on the Safran parent company's booth, the "Illuminate the Sky by Aircelle" markings attracted a steady flow of attendees, who were briefed on the display concept that has been developed during the past four years for use almost anywhere on an aircraft's exterior.

The electro-luminescent markings evolved from Aircelle's role as a leading manufacturer of aircraft nacelles, and its experience in installing increasingly intricate logos of international airlines on these jet engine components.

New opportunities with Aircelle's highly-visible markings

Aircelle’s electro-luminescent display
Serge Rière shows the thin-line aspect of Aircelle's electro-luminescent markings, which are flexible to enable their installation on curved surfaces.

"After transitioning from painting airlines' logos on our nacelles to the use of decals, we began looking at how to make them even more attractive and visible," explained Serge Rière, Aircelle's Site & Operations Director. "This led to the idea of using electro-luminescent displays, which opens new opportunities and takes the concept of aircraft markings to a much higher level."

Aircelle's electro-luminescent markings are very thin and require low power levels (7-10 watts from the aircraft's electrical system) to operate. They are affixed to the aircraft with adhesive, and can be easily replaced or removed. As the layered material is flexible, it can be installed on flat and curved surfaces.

Typical uses of the markings are highlighting aircraft liveries and distinguishing airline branding, along with the promotion of sports events. They are easily programmable via a control box, allowing letters or symbols to be illuminated in sequence, or to flash in a predetermined manner.

Significant interest for aviation, trains and even cars

Aircelle’s electro-luminescent display
The Aircelle electro-luminescent markings' first flight demonstration was on an A380 jetliner, with the Airbus logo and letters programmed to light up sequentially.

Since the concept's unveiling by Aircelle at last June's Paris Air Show, Rière said the concept has attracted the significant interest from airlines and aircraft manufacturers – with ideas even proposed on trains and cars.

"For the aviation sector, we're already working on electro-luminescent marking ideas for a major international sporting event in 2016, along with concepts for airlines and an airframe manufacturer's new aircraft," he explained. "One application involves a display that would be seven meters wide and three meters tall!"

During Aircelle's presence at this week's convention of the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association), Rière said the use of such markings would enable operators of VIP aircraft to display the identity of customers on charter flight – a sports team or a music group for example – while private owners can make their aircraft stand out with illuminated liveries.

Benefitting from the Safran's expertise

During the electro-luminescent markings' development, Aircelle benefited from the expertise within Safran – of which Aircelle is a business unit – including technical guidance from Labinal Power Systems.

An initial display was flight tested on an Airbus A380 with its installation on one of the jetliner's four Aircelle-manufactured nacelles. Rière said Aircelle continues to refine the design and is working on qualifying the displays in terms of resistance to fire and lightning strikes.

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