Photoluminescent Aviation Products FAQs

Photoluminescent Aviation Products FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding DHi’s AfterGlow® Brand Photoluminescent Aviation Products

Q. What types of photoluminescent aviation products does DHi offer?

A. Defense Holdings, Inc.® (DHi) sells its AfterGlo® Brand PL paint for enhancing the visibility of propeller/rotor tips on military and commercial fixed and rotary wing aircraft. DHi offers other PL products such as sheets of photoluminescent paper for printing checklists, adhesive-backed PL tape for cockpit and access markings, PL wheel chocks, and new SleeveLight™ aircraft tie-down marking devices. DHi has pioneered the PL safety product market and is currently the largest installer of PL safety products in the United States.

Q. Why should aircraft propeller tips be marked with DHi’s patented AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint?

A. Potentially distracted by noisy, high-tempo flight operations, ground and flight personnel are inadvertently struck each year by propeller blades with inevitably tragic consequences. DHi’s solution combines a revolutionary, long-lasting, ultra-bright, non-radioactive PL material with the additional option of adding an equally effective retro-reflective material to dramatically improve propeller blade visibility under all lighting conditions. When DHi’s Patented AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint is applied to the tips of aircraft propeller blades, helicopter main and tail rotors, or other rotating objects, it can help personnel to avoid injury or death from coming into contact with them in low-light situations.

Q. Where was DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint first used?

A. The paint was developed under a Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) contract as part of the Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The initial application of this paint was on the U.S. Navy’s E-2C carrier aircraft to help save the lives of men and women who must work at night in the vicinity of rapidly spinning propeller blades and rotors on carrier flight decks where inadvertent contact can have deadly results.

Q. How easy is it to see spinning propeller blades when painted with DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint?

A. The following un-retouched photos show how a propeller with its blade tips painted with DHi’s PL Safety Paint (seen as two green rings) compares to a prop painted with traditional red and white safety marking paint (nearly invisible).

Q. Does DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint affect the performance of the propeller?

A. The application maximizes visibility, material adhesion, durability, wear resistance and ease of installation without compromising propeller aerodynamic performance.

Q. Does DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint affect the detectibility of the aircraft by enemy equipped with Night Vision Goggles (NVGs)?

A. Since the wavelength of the emitted light is outside of the range of IR Night Vision Goggles, use of the paint does not interfere with aircrew visibility or make the aircraft more vulnerable to hostile visual detection.

Q. Does DHi actually formulate the paint?

A. DHi is having its pattented propeller paint exclusively manufactured under contract by Sherwin Williams Aerospace Coatings Division. DHi sees the use of this paint and related AfterGlow® photoluminescent products expanding to other applications in commercial aviation and other industries as well.

Q. Where can I Buy DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint

A. This paint is directly available from DHi under part number HPP001SGNK-A by calling 1-877-AFT-GLOW (1-877-238-4569).  This paint is also available for authorized government buyers through the GSA under NSN 8010-01-558-3002.

Q. Is DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint suitable for marking helicopter main and tail rotors?

A. Yes

Q. Why should I worry about having my Emergency Medical Service (EMS) or Law Enforcement helicopter’s rotor tips be marked with DHi’s Patented AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint?

A. The paint helps to enhance awareness in low-light situations. This is of special interest to helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) and law enforcement operators for safety in and around both pre-configured and improvised landing zones. A paramount security issue for those personnel who work with EMS aircraft is awareness of the turning tail rotor and the need for heightened awareness during hours of darkness. Typically the tail rotor is within 5 feet of the ground. A night, improvised landing zone in a city (be it a vacant lot, road intersection, or some other cleared area) is an immediate attraction to people of all ages and intelligence. Fire, EMS and police have their hands full and even they can get distracted around the helicopter trying to keep order. Photoluminescent main and tail rotor tip markings can be a literal lifesaver.

Q. Will the “afterglow” from DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint interfere with aircrew or flight deck crew night vision?

A. No. DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint’s “afterglow” is only clearly visible from approximately 25 feet. Previous testing during night carrier operations with PL paint on E-2C rotating propellers (now adapted throughout the fleet and visible from approximately 100 feet) did not interfere with E-2C aircrew situational awareness (SA) nor did it distract other aircrew or flightdeck personnel.

Q. Will PL illumination negatively impact the effectiveness of aircrew using Night Vision Goggles (NVGs)?

A. Previous testing during night carrier operations with PL paint on E-2C propellers (now adapted throughout the fleet) indicated that there were no negative impacts during night vision goggle (NVG) operations. A February 2009 informal NVG test confirmed that the light emitted by DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint and other AfterGlow® brand photoluminescent (PL) materials was compatible with the latest version of Infantry Monocular NVG, the AN/PVS-14. Testing was conducted in a darkened room and showed that the light emitted from the PL material did not interfere with the operator’s vision while in use. In other words, it did not “bloom,” cause temporary blindness or restrict the night vision of the goggles in any way at all distances tested, which ranged from approximately 1 foot to 14 feet. To the naked eye, the charged PL material glowed in the dark as advertised. With the NVGs, the glow disappeared and the material appeared the typical light green. Earlier testing with AN/AVS-6 Aviator NVGs resulted in the same conclusion.

Q. Can DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint be cleaned?

A. Yes. DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint can be cleaned with any ‘cleaner-friendly’ solutions (e.g., soap/water, 409, detergent, citrus-based cleaners, etc.) and will not lose its photoluminescencent qualities.

Q. Will DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint perform in a variety of environmental conditions?

A. DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint will perform well in cold weather and hot, whether it’s wet or dry, and in high or low humidity.

Q. How long does it take to charge DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint and AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Products?

A. DHi’s AfterGlo® Brand PL Safety Paint and AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Products are charged in minutes by UV light sources including:

  • The sun (best source for charging)
  • Electric light sources such as fluorescent/incandescent lights, black lights or flashlights

Once fully charged by a light source, the afterglow remains visible for 8+ hours after the light source is removed.

A full charge can be achieved by:

  • 3-4 minutes of ultraviolet (black) light, or
  • 7-8 minutes of direct sunlight, or
  • 21-23 minutes of fluorescent light, or
  • 24-26 minutes of incandescent light

Q. What is the service temperature range for DHi’s AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Products

A. The service temperature range is -30°F to 200°F. The PL phosphors are stable to well below -100°F and stable to 1000°F.

Q. What conditions and preparation/surface cleaning is required before installing DHi’s AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Tape?

A. The installation (application) temperature range for both the air and substrate is 50°F to 100°F. The surface where the PL tape is to be applied should be cleaned with denatured alcohol and allowed to dry thoroughly before PL application.

Q. How do I remove DHi’s AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Tape and adhesive residue should I ever choose to do so?

A. The PL tape has an aggressive, pressure sensitive adhesive. The use of a heat gun or steam cleaner (if available) will aid in removal. A citrus-based cleaner is recommended for the removal of adhesive residue from substrates.

Q. How can I use DHi’s AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Tape in my aviation application?

A. DHi’s AfterGlow® Brand PL Safety Tape is available in 1” wide 25’ and 100’ rolls backed with a very aggressive pressure-sensitive adhesive. This product is about 8 mils thick and can be cut with scissors, a knife or even with a paper punch. The tape can then be used to mark catches, latches, switches, and controls — whatever you would like to make more visible in low-light situations.