Made on Long Island: LEDs for passenger aircraft

- LEDs have replaced fluorescent bulbs in cabin lighting on aircraft. LEDs are lighter and more efficient but the average traveler wouldn't even know.

"If we are successful with what we're trying to do with our lighting we will create an ambiance, we will create something that the passenger will come in, sit down, not know that they're surrounded by LED light but will feel the effect of the sunrise or a sunset or a meal scene or a boarding scene," said Stephen Scover, the VP and general manager of Rockwell Collins Lighting and Integrated Systems on Long Island.

The company has been around for about 40 years and manufactures out of a 65,000-square-foot factory in Bohemia.

Research has found that mood lighting in aircraft cabins helps promote relaxation and reduces fatigue. Lighting enhancements like a shade of blue for boarding changes gradually and offers a variety of colors.

Scover has a rich family history in aviation with ties to Long Island.

"If you go back all the way to the time of Lindbergh, all the way through the Grummans and the Republics to where we are now, we think we're keeping tradition alive, particularly with manufacturing aerospace-type of products on Long Island," he said.

Rockwell Collins has 200 employees on Long Island. It is the sole producer of cabin lighting for the Boeing 737 aircraft and also provides lighting for Airbus platforms.

"We do general cabin lighting -- the basic lighting that lights up the cabin as you walk in and maneuver through the cabin," Scover said. "We do reading lights. Then there's all types of secondary lighting -- specialty lighting within the galley, things that the flying public generally never sees."

Rockwell Collins manufactures close to 300,000 overhead lights each year. The company is also responsible for emergency lighting.

"We do escape path lighting, we do specific emergency lightings which are embedded in the bins so it can provide aisle-type of light in the event of an emergency," Scover said.

Workers carefully follow instructions to build and assemble the lights. Every single light is scanned and calibrated and goes through an aircraft vibration and thermal chamber test before it is packaged and shipped.

Static electricity is very dangerous to the electrical components, so each operator wears an anti-static jacket and a wrist strap that provides a path for electrical buildup on the body to be safely discharged.

So the next time you fly, look around. Although you may be thousands of miles away, what is inside the plane may be made on Long Island.

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