Hand Held Spot Light Recommendation for Helicopter Operations

zak761

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G'day all,

I currently work as part of the crew of a Search and Rescue Helicopter based in Australia. I am looking for a handheld spotlight to augment our night operations when using Night Vision Goggles. We have two different aircraft types. One has 12 Volt socket where we use "Lightforce" halogen spotlight with a momentary switch. The other has no power socket in the rear so we are currently using Nitcore TM26 or TM28 as a hand held search light. I am looking to replace the Tm26 and TM28's and not the Lightforce Halogen as they still work really well with the goggles.

We don't need crazy bright as the lights are not generally used for searching (we have Flir and NVIS systems) but used when we are doing obstruction clearances when we are doing outlandings in the bush or forest. As a rule we laser designate the area with a hand held laser so we all know where we are going to land then only use the spotlights when in the confines of the landing area to check for hazards, tree clearances etc.

I'm looking for a light of medium intensity (approx. 15,000 lumens) that has flood characteristics more than spot or has the capacity for both. Something high on the list is a simple tactile switching mechanism, the simpler the better as it would be operated one handed with a gloved hand.

Lights I've looked at:

O'light Marauder 2

This light ticked all the boxes, especially the simple tactile switching system. However the auto lockout after 30 Secs is the deal breaker. We need to be able to pick it up and put it down turn it on and off during a period without automatically going back into lock out.

Fenix LR40R V2.0

Again this light looks good, no auto lock out but main drawback is the switching maybe cumbersome with a gloved hand and one handed. Not eliminated as yet.

Lumintop Thor Pro

This looks the goods and has an LEP spotlight which may eliminate the need for handheld lasers. But has a single switch with multiple clicks to achieve different modes which can be fiddly when busy and under stress.

We would prefer:

Price: up to $800.00

Hand held Medium Size

Led possibly with LEP

Don't care about Manufacturer

Rechargeable

Approx 15,000 Lumens

Flood up to 50 Yards with the option for spot

Runtime 90-120 minutes

Durability Critical

Simple switching preferably with momentary

UI: Simple tactile or Programmable

Material: Don't care but durable

Water Resisitance: Minimum Splash proof

Storage: In Aircraft (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)

Fanless (one less thing to go wrong)

If anyone has any suggestions for me to look at bearing in mind I'm a KISS (keep it simple stupid) type of guy I would greatly appreciate it The volume of lights out there is daunting and a lot have very complex single switch system which immediately eliminates them. I'm hoping that someone may know of a light that will fit our purpose. Thanks.
 

Dave D

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Good luck with your search, I retired from UK Police ASU 11 years ago, so too far behind the curve to give recommendations for your light when using NVG's etc. We relied on Nightsun, moveable landing light and mark 1 eyeball in my day! 😆

Fly safe!
 

zak761

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Good luck with your search, I retired from UK Police ASU 11 years ago, so too far behind the curve to give recommendations for your light when using NVG's etc. We relied on Nightsun, moveable landing light and mark 1 eyeball in my day! 😆

Fly safe!
Yeah thankfully those days of nitesuns and eyeballs are over. We still use nitesun and landing lights but its to augment the goggles. Times have changed for the better, nowadays were not allowed to conduct night winching and out landings without goggles.
 

PaladinNO

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I want to be very careful when I suggest something for actual professional use, as flashlights are all fun and games until you need something that is literally for life or death. And I have fortunately not been in such a situation.

So to just throw out some names and let you yourself whether they are suited for your needs:

Acebeam X75
https://www.acebeam.com/extra-x75-battery-pack-821700 (battery extender, which I would recommend in this instance)

Fenix LR80R

I recently purchased an LR80R on behalf of a friend of mine, and while it is very powerful, and Fenix lights usually reach their advertised output, runtime at max level is typically around 30-90 seconds before it thermal throttles.
I cannot speak for the LR80R specifically though (...I didn't try it that long before handing it over), but that has been my experience with Fenix lights in general, and I own plenty of them.

And the 2 control button are located quite close to each other, and placed underneath the handle, so I would question their ease of use with gloves.

I also don't like Fenix seemingly randomly changing the activation and mode switching. I got Fenix lights that are press and hold to activate, and I got Fenix lights that are press and hold to Strobe. But I guess that doesn't matter if it is only a single light being used over and over. The controls eventually becomes muscle memory.
 
Last edited:

letschat7

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Clulite might be another good option.
 

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aznsx

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General question/suggestion for OP: Have you checked out the Streamlight product line?

I got Fenix lights that are press and hold to activate, and I got Fenix lights that are press and hold to Strobe.
Hate to sidetrack onto Fenix UIs, but my least favorite, to the point that I no longer use them are the ones that combine those functions together:

There is a delay timer, or 'switch filtering' for OFF/ON. When 'OFF', it's 'press and hold' for 'ON'. When 'ON', it's 'press and hold' for 'OFF'. In either case, linger on the button just slightly too long, and they go straight to 'STROBE'. I've find that inexcusably bad design, and absolutely impossible to live with in practice. I'd give them away, but could never live with giving those to someone else, or even selling them. I don't know what planet some of their design people came from, but it's not one I'd want to visit.

I should clarify that I have a number of Fenix lights that I very much like, would recommend, and consider to be among the best quality lights from the manufacturers based on the other side of this world. I guess anyone can screw up bigtime once in a while - don't ask me how I know ;-) Definitely a case for RTM carefully and giving it some thought before buying though.
 

zak761

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General question/suggestion for OP: Have you checked out the Streamlight product line?


Hate to sidetrack onto Fenix UIs, but my least favorite, to the point that I no longer use them are the ones that combine those functions together:

There is a delay timer, or 'switch filtering' for OFF/ON. When 'OFF', it's 'press and hold' for 'ON'. When 'ON', it's 'press and hold' for 'OFF'. In either case, linger on the button just slightly too long, and they go straight to 'STROBE'. I've find that inexcusably bad design, and absolutely impossible to live with in practice. I'd give them away, but could never live with giving those to someone else, or even selling them. I don't know what planet some of their design people came from, but it's not one I'd want to visit.

I should clarify that I have a number of Fenix lights that I very much like, would recommend, and consider to be among the best quality lights from the manufacturers based on the other side of this world. I guess anyone can screw up bigtime once in a while - don't ask me how I know ;-) Definitely a case for RTM carefully and giving it some thought before buying though.
Thanks, the last thing we need is inadvertent strobe activation.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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On an $800 budget for something used in search and rescue, I'd say go all in for the Imalent MS32 bright flashlight. At 18,000 lumen setting, you'll get over 90 minutes runtime, and since that is a lower setting on such a bright light, it should be able to maintain output for the whole 95 minutes or so. If you need more throw, you can adjust output up to 200,000 lumens. It does use cooling fans though. Any decent light at the output you want will to maintain constant brightness. Without that, the light will dim down in seconds or the l.e.d.s could burn out, the batteries could overheat, and/or the light could burn your skin.
 

Fuzzywuzzies

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I agree with @PaladinNO , tread carefully when recommending lights for professional use, particularly for aviation etc. where "critical" is a word not lightly used. :)

@zak761 more maximum lumens is better, because it increases your runtime and reliability when run at lower brightnesses.

The Acebeam X75 is an option worth considering.
 

Scuffer

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I would recommend against the Olight Marauder 2, using the Marauder Mini as a LEO on the ground it can be a pain while gloved to get the auto lock turned off and get the light turned on. Other than that it's a decent light but the run times at higher settings are generally pretty short before step downs. As other have said, I ended up looking at the Fenix and Acebeam lights that have higher outputs but when run at the same level as the Marauder 2 would keep that output for longer.
 

zak761

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I would recommend against the Olight Marauder 2, using the Marauder Mini as a LEO on the ground it can be a pain while gloved to get the auto lock turned off and get the light turned on. Other than that it's a decent light but the run times at higher settings are generally pretty short before step downs. As other have said, I ended up looking at the Fenix and Acebeam lights that have higher outputs but when run at the same level as the Marauder 2 would keep that output for longer.
Thanks Scuffer, I initially looked at the Marauder 2 but the 30 second auto lockout makes it an unnecessary bug bear when under pressure or time constraints. Everything else was a winner so I emailed O'light to see if that can be programmed out to a longer time frame but they were either unable or unwilling to achieve this. I think I'll take the advice of group and look at a more powerful light that has longer illumination at the power levels I need. Thanks.
 

Scuffer

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Thanks Scuffer, I initially looked at the Marauder 2 but the 30 second auto lockout makes it an unnecessary bug bear when under pressure or time constraints. Everything else was a winner so I emailed O'light to see if that can be programmed out to a longer time frame but they were either unable or unwilling to achieve this. I think I'll take the advice of group and look at a more powerful light that has longer illumination at the power levels I need. Thanks.
Yeah, it's a pain. Even on lights where it is implemented it doesn't always work. Just the other day I had my Seeker 3 Pro on my duty belt. Had used it at a job, got back in the car and smelt burning. It has turned on in its pouch and started to melt the the covering flap.
 

zak761

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Yeah, it's a pain. Even on lights where it is implemented it doesn't always work. Just the other day I had my Seeker 3 Pro on my duty belt. Had used it at a job, got back in the car and smelt burning. It has turned on in its pouch and started to melt the the covering flap.
Yeah, that's the last thing I want to happen.
 
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