SEAPLANE UNDERWATER CABIN EXIT LIGHTING - “SUCEL”
Seaplane water accidents are fortunately a rare occurrence, but when they do happen the seaplane often comes to rest inverted. The resultant disorientation of the occupants is compounded by the dark cabin due to the poor ambient light and murky water.
SUCEL is a stand-alone high-intensity LED lighting system powered by a long-life rechargeable battery, and automatically operated by electronic tilt switches.
The benefit of a fully automatic operation is that the pilot does not have to find and activate a switch by touch, when disorientated and possibly underwater. Providing an immediate source of Emergency Lighting can reduce disorientation in the vital “Golden Minute” after a crash when escape is most likely to be achievable. This lighting not only dramatically raises the ambient light level inside the cabin, but also shows the location of the door operating handle by colour-coding the lights.
As soon as the tilt switches detect a fuselage angle of approximately of 70º from the horizontal, twenty-eight white and ten amber LEDs are activated within the cabin. Each unit provides lighting for one door surround. Dual fitting on both front doors will provide maximum protection. Being self-contained, the units can be fitted by other exit doors and emergency exit windows on larger airplanes.
Once activated, the lighting will remain on in excess of 15 minutes, making the cabin easy to find and access by outside rescuers.
An additional benefit is the ability to manually switch on the LED bars, to provide emergency panel and cabin illumination in the event of electrical failure during flight in low ambient light levels. Note that the automatic system will still function whilst the Emergency Light is in use. SUCEL is not connected to any of the aircraft electrical, control or instrument systems, so is unaffected by alternator or battery failure.
As SUCEL is uncertified, it is designed to be easily removed (if required) before any official workshop input takes place, and also replaced quickly afterwards.