for helipads and landing sites. Company history from the first person
Dmitry Shapovalov - pilot, co-owner of Kudinovo airfield, engineer, programmer, chief executive in a number of production enterprises.
Over a couple of years of extensive activity in the market we’ve become well known (in aviation-related communities)
and defeated some small companies earning on foreign light signal equipment supplies.
Now its time for me to tell this story. And you’ll know why from below.
This story goes back to the early 2012 when I looked around my recently extended 700-m long runway.
I looked in both directions and remembered how much I spent for the asphalt concrete and runway construction and understood that the invested money
should work not only annually but 24 hours every day to bring me at least some payback for this excellence.
In those times among the equipment from domestic or foreign vendors which was tremendously costly we could find, generally, only filament lamp systems.
We had no intention to buy in the XXI century 40-60 W filament lamps at a price of AVTOVAZ secondhand car. We didn’t want to buy secondhand equipment for our beautiful airfield.
Finally, as stated in a well-known proverb "Self-help is the best help!" we decided to solve this problem ourselves. It took me and my team a year to study the light controllers,
optics, electronics, lamp design, documentation and regulatory documents. We tried a huge amount of metal, electronic components, optics and developed a lot of program codes.
The technical and engineering intelligence also was keeping vigil. If somebody thinks that engineering intelligence is bad, I’ll let you in on a secret –
it is always the starting point. All available prototypes are thoroughly investigated and, if possible, bought and disassembled.
As a result, by fall of 2013 we had supplied our first commercial lighting system to a friendly airfield of Orlovka while we were using a pilot version at our own airfield.
Being an airfield owner (this is not so funny as it may seem because, from the standpoint of income, it’s a huge and nice fireplace which takes all money,
even the money you haven’t yet earned) I realize what funds another airfield owner like me can take from the budget to fit his airfield with such systems.
Finally, we managed to be on target with the prices. All equipment supplied from abroad or domestic vendors was hard-to-sell because of the high prices.
I know only a couple of stories when small airfields were fitted with foreign/domestic equipment by very well-off owners but only because they had no other alternative at the time.
Having gained substantial hands-on experience, first on our own airfield and then on some friendly airfields and helipads in 2013-2014
we finished the follow-ups of all our systems and designs and in 2015 were ready for demonstrating our capabilities at the International Aviation and Space Show in Moscow (MAKS-2015).
FlightTV Issue 21 - MAKS-2015
Our slogan for MAKS-2015 was "We’ll light throughout Russia!" Having successfully implemented our own tasks on one airfield we came forward with a mission
of fitting all airfields throughout Russia and other countries in the long run with our light signal equipment.
Foreign investors showed high interest to our systems due to low production costs at the up-to-date manufacturing sites and high quality of a final product.
Moreover, new regulations eliminated the last argument for importers: the mandatory certification of lighting, weather and radio-communication equipment at private helipads,
landing grounds and even at small regional airfields where commercial flights hardly total any 20 passengers onboard. This greatly reduced our certification expenditures
(anyway, we regularly pass certification in technical laboratories on a voluntary basis) and enabled us to promptly improve the design without getting approvals and re-certifications.
Following our success some trade companies take offensive and sometimes in private discussions tell us that we stole something from somebody and used it illegally.
One of the handcraft light signal equipment manufacturers accused us of using a lens that was his invention.
We proved the contrary when showed him the drawings and patents of the lens manufacturer.
In fact, we use a wide range of lenses or a combination thereof produced by various companies and the design of such lenses was developed long ago
with nothing principally new to invent today. In 2017, we mastered the production of our own universal lens for 2 form factors of light-emitting diodes.
After we participated in MAKS-2015 and the 21st release of FlightTV program on TV the foreign vendors supplying non-competitive light systems
became active again and stepped out to accuse us of piracy. To be absolutely clear I’ll try to illustrate the differences between our products and the existing analogues
which are most similar to our products among a variety of equipment. I shall say beforehand that we will omit the lights of filament lamps and the lights with
a principally different design, for instance, a molded case (which is a gridlock from our engineering point of view).
The filament lamp lights are principally different due to another design of the light source.
1 - In both foreign systems the mounting bracket is an integral single-piece part of the casing, which requires undercutting of the moisture-protection skirt of the polycarbonate cap in the point of bracket penetration in the PEARL system, and requires an auxiliary metal ring for securing the polycarbonate cap in the OBELUX systems. We coped with this problem in our design and now any types of brackets can be used including angle-adjustable versions. 2 - Flat top of the polycarbonate cap. We use a flat top based on our experience. Bird droppings remain on the upper horizontal part of the cap which is not so important in terms of optics while the light flux goes though the clear vertical part. The lights may be easily adjusted in azimuth with a digital level when using this flat surface as a base. 3 - A typical standard lens was selected for the omnidirectional lights. In the PEARL system they made a kind of complicating the matter unnecessarily and I tend to think they’ve just failed to select the appropriate lenses for their LEDs. 4 - There are 6 fastening screws in the casing. 4 screws is not enough, 8 screws is too much, uneven number – inconvenient and asymmetrical, and the lights often are operated in 180 degrees sectors of centerlines. Actually, there’s no space for decision flexibility. Due to the extrusion process the casing is manufactured as a distinct shape tube. Extrusion method is used to easily change the length (height) of the casing during its design stage depending on the actual need for the LEDs cooling. 5 - 2 power supply cables (input/output) are provided in OBELUX, not available in PEARL system. The use of a couple of male/female connectors allows us to get rid of T-connectors and reduce by 2 the overall number of connectors and facilitate the repair/operation. Our connectors are distinguished for their serviceability in any weather and require no specific tools except for crimping.
As you can see from above other similar and absolutely different design solutions are available, however in general the products have a number of differences since we used the best from what is available and added our own engineering solutions and experience. None of the component of one product design fits another product design.
Though, visually similar, but having principally different design the lights of the lighting systems from various manufacturers are more distinct from each other from the inside. Our digital controllers are unparalleled and differ greatly from their counterparts even in terms of appearance.
And the lamps visually all look like each other ;) but you always can find the best among them :)
We are a large-scale production enterprise located in Moscow, our production sites are equipped with the most up-to-date equipment and we have a large and
well-coordinated team of employees. This enables us to develop new products in the tough deadline and provide a reliable support from the pilot production stage
to the warranty and post-warranty service.
All products have a serial numbers
Shop for assembling electronics
We are continuously working on the new GA projects. We have done a lot of work and therefore we can say reasonably: "We are the best!", but we have a lot of long-term plans.
We’ve gained a foothold in this market to create innovative solutions and bring joy to you tackling tough issues and solving your problems.
I always enjoy taking part in installation of our systems getting an invaluable experience and feedback that, finally, contributed to our being the No. 1.
By the end of 2020 there will be more then 300 operating landing grounds in Russia fitted with our systems.