Pushing innovation in aviation lighting

SCHOTT has been delivering lighting solutions to the aviation industry for more than 25 years. Based on LEDs and fiber optic technology, the solutions range from functional lighting to mood and ambient lighting, always in tune with current developments and trends in the industry.

Philip Fischer, Vice President Aviation, talks about setting trends in aviation lighting, why the SCHOTT® Jade Reading Light is a perfect innovation, and why he sometimes feels like a Jedi in Star Wars.

What trends are you seeing in the aviation lighting industry?

The next generation of aviation lighting will introduce even more lighting features into the cabin, seats and monuments. This is driven by the goal of the airline to differentiate and to create a unique experience for the passenger. With our innovations we address both aspects: for example, our Jade model offers a functional, classical reading light that is combined with an integrated ambient light to create a special atmosphere within a business or first class seat.

What we also see is a growing interest in human-centric lighting or the impact of lighting on your inner clock and circadian rhythm, which in aviation targets the reduction of jetlag. We can support these needs with our lighting solutions.

What distinguishes an innovation leader?

If you want to be accepted as an innovation leader, you have to understand that perfect product functionality, even next generation functionality, is a given. Furthermore, you must focus on design to push the boundaries and enable a more extravagant ambient atmosphere on board. That is how we developed our Jade Reading Light – in close cooperation and partnership with the designers from PriestmanGoode, using the design thinking process. This ensured that we were able to integrate latest design trends into our new product while creating something absolutely new.

What else is innovative about the Jade Reading Light?

Our light is not only beautiful and modern, it is also very versatile. You can direct the light beam and intensity via touch technology – making the light beam move with your fingertips makes me feel like a Jedi in Star Wars! We were able to narrow down the light beam to the perfect angle and precisely direct it to the area we really want illuminated, for example your lap or book for reading. We all remember situations where the reading light was hard to access or directed the light to the wrong place, even disturbing the neighbor. This is no longer a problem! We made this possible by combining our two fields of expertise – fiber optics and LED technology – which allowed us to work with the typical limits of LEDs and push the boundaries to the next level.

What is more, our light is what we call ‘smart’ because it interlinks with cabin and seat scenarios. For example, when you adjust the position of your seat, the light beam automatically follows. This is something that you would not expect, and this is the type of innovation that airlines are looking for.

All of these aspects around Jade enabled us to win three prestigious awards: German Innovation Award GOLD 2021, German Design Award Winner 2021, and we were recognized as Finalist in the Crystal Cabin Award 2020. What a great achievement!

What else is new for mood lighting?

We recently introduced our flexible HelioCurve LED strip for mood lighting in white or full color varieties. It only requires a very small space envelope to work its magic and create a wash light effect in numerous areas within the cabin environment. The strips have a control header that provides robust LED protection, and they are controllable via PWM or bus-control using a Multi Light Controller box, which can also provide status management, power leveling and other key information.

Text: Dr. Haike Frank, SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging

Philip Fischer, Vice President Aviation at SCHOTT. Photo: SCHOTT
The SCHOTT® Jade Reading Light was developed in cooperation with the designer PriestmanGoode. Image: PriestmanGoode

May 18, 2021


Brigitte Sterf
Lighting and Imaging
SCHOTT North America, Inc.