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LED Highbay Lighting Upgrade For Metal Halide Replacement

LED High Bay Lights for Aircraft Hanger - Metal Halide Lighting Upgrade - MAF International at Mareeba Airport Qld


MAF International at Mareeba airport in far North Queensland serves the heavy maintenance needs of field aircraft supporting MAF programs in Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Bangladesh. Mareeba is equipped to provide major overhauls, repairs, modifications, repaints, avionics upgrades, stores support and more.

MAF Mareeba approached us requesting a suitable LED Lighting upgrade for their aging fifteen 400W metal halide highbays, some of which are still shown in the photo below. Their application is a 24m x 24m aircraft hangar with a ceiling height of about 22ft. One of the primary considerations was the need to reduce shadowing as much as possible around the aircraft so they were considering more units with less wattage rather than a few higher powered units.

Photos provided courtesy of MAF International Mareeba Airport.


Factory and Mechanical Workshop Lighting Requirements

Whilst no specific illumination levels were specified, a value of 160 lux is considered to be a minimum for general work areas. Typially, factory type assembly areas require a maintained illuminance of approximately 400 lux but for inspection or more detailed mechanical work including extra-fine bench work a range of 600 to 1200 lux is recommended or 1600 lux for extremely difficult tasks requiring fine visual acuity such as assembly of minute mechanisms. In terms of the maintenance and preparation of aircraft there are safety issues that require essential attention to detail and in many respects very detailed mechanical work requiring a high level of lighting.

Recommended Aircraft Hanger LED Lighting

To meet MAF requirements for suitable LED lighting we suggested that a wider beam angle would help to reduce shadowing and slightly more light would also help fill in shadows due to beam spread, reflection and overlap. We didn’t believe that adding more lights would help as there is still the problem of the light being directed downwards. Rather we want to increase lateral light/intensity to flood shadows from neighboring lights.

Using cable hung highbays can also help as you can adjust some of the heights more optimally say at the sides of the bays to help increase lateral light, but this is at the risk that they may swing if you have a prop running or a lot of wind. Other options to eliminate the shadow would be to install wall hung or floor mounted lights or have a portable light.

Our 500W LED UFO highbay would most likely give too much light, almost 4x the existing light but certainly meet the recommended illumination levels for detailed mechanical work.

Our high output 100W UFO LED highbays would be adequate to give similar light to the existing 400W metal halides, but our high output 200-240W UFO LED highbays are very economical and would potentially double the amount of existing light. As mentioned increased intensity from lateral light would help to reduce shadowing. Generally, people are grateful for the extra light and it may help reduce the shadowing. We advised that the 200W LED Highbay would be adequate but the price of the 240W is not that much more if 20% more light was wanted.

240W High Output 145 lm/W LED Highbay Light – Up to 1000W Metal Halide Replacement

As a trial MAF selected two of our LITE-GS-HB-240W 120° 145 lm/W 240W UFO LED highbays. They would later find that these would produce much more light than their existing 400W metal halide highbays.


MAF trialed the initial two LITE-GS-240W LED highbays temporarily in their hanger at Mareeba and we received the following feedback,

We were very impressed with the light output - much better than the Metal Halide units especially with the wider beam angle giving a better spread… We estimate that we would only need 5 or 6 240W units to replace the 15 Halides we currently have - a big saving in power consumption!

MAF ordered a further four units leading to a total of six. After installation we received the following feedback,

Even though we left a few of the Metal Halides hanging, we have found that we don't need to use them. Overall the six LED highbay units are putting out a whiter and a more even spread of light than the fifteen Metal Halides combined that we had before. You will see in the photos that there is some shadowing under the wings of the aircraft, but there is still enough reflected light getting to those areas that it hasn't been a problem.”

Photo showing the six LITE-GS-HB-240W LED highbays producing more light than the previous fifteen 400W metal halide highbays:


Photo showing the lighting effect of six high output 240W LED UFO highbays during daylight hours:



Photo showing the lighting effect of six high output 240W LED UFO highbays during nighttime hours: