Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Well, that's a change for me....Flashlights

So like most folks, I had always believe that a brighter flashlight is a better flashlight. I mean, more lumens makes for more happiness, right? More lumens make it easier to see, and work, and (up till now) I had never said "gee I wish this light (or headlamp) was dimmer and had a much lower output".

Yeah, that was before I had to fly at night. The lowest output light I own (I brought 3) is about a hundred lumens.....Which is about 94 lumens too many for the task in a small airplane at night. I mean, I had 2 lights with me that have both red and white light which are what I would have considered "low output" (and they were too bright by a factor of 10), and one additional  light that is like looking at the sun......

But in a small plane at 4500 feet, trying to look outside and compare what I see below and read a sectional chart, one needs a lumen count in the single digits, not one with 3 zeros to the left of the decimal.....

And now I gotta go find a decent LOW output penlight or headlamp.

Pilots: any suggestions? 


Jim Rock said...

Electrical tape with a pinhole.

John said...

I have been using one of these for work around the home, and car work.
It is powered by a single 18650 rechargeable battery (not included) and if you hold the button down when you turn it on, it will cycle through the bright to dim with no steps. I don't know if it would be dim enough for what you want.
The hand wave on-off feature is useless for close up work, as the light will turn itself off when you stick your face close enough to see what you are doing.
The part I really like is that the light just turns on or off, and remembers your last brightness setting. It doesn't have 20 billion different modes and it won't flash a Morse Code message to deliver pizza.

Perhaps this light would meet your needs for a very low level light when you need it, and a bright light when you need that.
The specs say you can dim it to as little as 4 lumens.

This light says it includes a Firefly mode to dim to less than one lumen.

There is the trick of closing your hand on a flashlight and opening your fingers only enough to let the amount of light you need peek out, but unless you can grow an extra hand, this isn't going to work for flying.

My experience is only with the first light.

PeteForester1 said...

Yeah; I bought a Streamlight for use at work. The "HIGH" setting is bright enough to embarrass the sun. Try to read numbers on a power panel, and all you see is glare!

Of course, one needs to wonder; we put a man on the moon in the '60's. Since then, we haven't been able to put a viable map lite in an airplane?...

Aaron said...

Smith and Wesson red and white led flashlight. White light for preflight, red led is perfect for inside cockpit lighting. Then do the Comrade Misfit thing and put it on a lanyard around your neck while flying so you don't lose it.

jon spencer said...

My headlamps, one a 200 lumen Zebralight (aa) and one a 1000 lumen Luminntrail (18650) and both have a very dim setting of around 1 lumen.

Karl said...

The wife and I have been due for a flashlight upgrade, as we've kept our surefire flashlights busy since the early 2000's. We decided on the Olight M2R and received them yesterday. So with very little use, here is my thoughts:

1) the dimmest setting is so dim that I did not know it was on. I was sitting in a dark room (with light coming in from a neighboring room)). Perfect for reading in the dark.
2) the cool USB/magnet recharging cable is long overdue.
3) the 1500 lumens will let me illuminate, and blind, my target out to 600yds.

I wanted a single-mode flashlight. The multi-mode flashlights I've bought in the past piss me off when I want the brightest setting, and somehow get strobe or dim, and I'm forced to cycle through to get what I want.

The M2R is a multi-mode, but they fixed this issue with two buttons.

The back thumb button gives me bright with every push. A subtle push is temporary, and a hard push locks the light on. The other modes come from the side button. And I understand I can set a preferred mode to the back button, but I haven't done that nor do I plan to.

$100 on Amazon, or $118 with an extra battery. Don't ask me what I've spent for Surefire lights over a decade ago...