Small, powerful, high CRI light for preflighting an airliner?

TurkishCoffee

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 2, 2017
Messages
36
New job requires a new flashlight. I need to be able to see details on the tail of an airliner, say 50-100 feet away, at night so high CRI would be a big benefit I think. Gotta be able to differentiate between oil and bird blood you know? Even more importantly it needs to be something small that won't take up much space in my bag. Maybe around the size of a mini-mag. Durability is important since I will be carrying it year round. I don't care if it's AA, AAA, 9V, rechargeable, whatever. Budget unlimited. I'm not very familiar with the market right now and I don't want to get a random piece of crap from Amazon so any recommendations are appreciated!
 

kerneldrop

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
2,333
Location
South
I need to be able to see details on the tail of an airliner, say 50-100 feet away, at night so high CRI would be a big benefit I think. Budget unlimited.
So I'll give you two USA made recommendations that are obtainable today. I don't have experience with import lights.

Malkoff MD2 with the M61N dropin. The High/Low ring is useful but you'll only use the light on high when at work. It's a 4000K SST20 95CRI. It doesn't fail. You'll pass it down or it'll be sold at your estate sale.


If your budget really is unlimited:
Sky Lumen Nguyen with a High CRI drop-in.
Host body: https://skylumen.com/products/sky-lumen-nguyen-serial-61-100?_pos=2&_sid=8f50aee24&_ss=r
P60 Dropin: Here's a Quad 4500k HCRI ready to ship - https://skylumen.com/products/p60vn?_pos=1&_sid=1ac385768&_ss=r&variant=41535493111968

There's several boutique custom makers that offer what you want....but you'll be $500-$5,700
join Flashlight Fanatics on FB to see a glimpse of that niche. There's always a few for sale.
 

3oni

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 24, 2021
Messages
140
Location
Seattle
Simple, reliable, and will do exactly what you want...count me as vote #3 for a Malkoff MD2 with an M61N and the hi/lo ring. It's chunkier than a Mini-Mag, but not wildly so. I EDC one and I love it. :)

You can run it on 1x18650 or 2xCR123 batteries, depending on your preferences. If it's getting clipped to a pocket, the clip Malkoff sells (which is made by Prometheus; they also sell it) is excellent. It's fully potted and the aluminum is quite thick, so it's tough as hell.
 

Attachments

  • malk02.jpg
    malk02.jpg
    589.9 KB · Views: 88

hsa

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Messages
995
Location
Terre Du Lac, MO.
One of my kids does that and after a long search I got him a Pelican 7600. Has red and green on a rotary dial which also exposes the usb port. I've been using one for three years extensively. He says it is great and everyone who sees it also likes it. He likes the green the most. Popular with police and military.
 

desert.snake

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
2,064
Location
Eastern Europe
To see something clearly at 100 feet, you need a flashlight that is more powerful than the MD2. Malkoff Hound Dog Super 4000K very good option or ask Gene to put XP-L with high CRI (3000K 90 CRI - https://www.digikey.com/en/products...JM+YQC0VDVrEBXPSUjl1nOQsMGSKK4uAAEAB489phcckA
or 4000K 80 CRI https://www.digikey.com/en/products...WdHJwZoTTQsPEIfPwoWWK45R1dfTVFcXAACAA8eJ0x4oA)

Alternatively, you can look for LEP lights, they are relatively small and give a clear spot. Example Acebeam W10 LEP with 90+ CRI. You can explore the surface at a distance sequentially, dividing into zones and illuminating one zone after another zone. Or some other LEP,
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
642
Zebralight 18650. 3 oz, including battery. About the size of an AA light. Get the SC64c LE. If you prefer AA, Zebralight SC5c Mk II. 93-95 CRI and almost 500 lumens.

Zebralight = reliable, programmable, ultralight, ultracompact, incredible range of ultra dim to bright, longest battery life. You could use G5 (first program group) for outside night ops and G6 or G7 programmed for inside dark ops.
 
Last edited:

lightfooted

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
1,017
Olight Warrior Mini II. I have a Warrior Mini and on high it easily lights up things over 100 ft. away. Easily. Plus it has a moonlight mode for inside the cockpit trying to find your coffee or the item you just dropped. Magnetic tailcap is useful at times, a PITA other times. I usually make sure it's the only thing in the pocket that I put it in.
 

Olumin

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,337
Location
"...that famous Texas part of Hamburg"
If I were you Id probably carry a neutral Hound Dog (or Wildcat like Gene mentioned) in a holster (leather holsters for C cell MAGs work very well). No need to worry about it fitting in a bag. But since you asked for something smaller its hard to beat the MD2+M61N as far as light quality and durability is concerned.
 

Bicycleflyer

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
470
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I keep a pelican 7600 in my flight bag. It is USB rechargeable so I don't have to worry about batteries. Always comes on in low, which what I prefer for flying. I've preflighted everything from the basic Cessna to a 747 with it.

Another good light is the Malkoff MD2 with High-Low ring. I have one but I seem to prefer using the Pelican. No need to remove the batteries to charge it. I have no need for the red or green LEDs on the pelican, but they are there in case I ever need them.

I do recommend you get a small light to hang on your lanyard. I have found that very useful and I think you would too.

Happy flying and remember to keep the dirty side down.
 

Bicycleflyer

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
470
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
If I were you Id probably carry a neutral Hound Dog (or Wildcat like Gene mentioned) in a holster (leather holsters for C cell MAGs work very well). No need to worry about it fitting in a bag. But since you asked for something smaller its hard to beat the MD2+M61N as far as light quality and durability is concerned.
I don't use a holster. Just one more thing you have to remove to go through security. Remember, when traveling, less-is-more. I went through security in Saudi Arabia with a flashlight holster on once. I got pinned in a corner with weapons drawn. They thought I had a weapon. I was in uniform too.
 

CanAm

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
95
Location
Vancouver Island
Also came here to endorse Malkoff. Of course, I'd also look into some other options to hold the drop-in. If you want the smallest possible package, one of Malkoff's VME heads would be the way to go, using either their MDC body or a LumensFactory E2 body. If you need more runtime and don't mind a bigger package, an MD3 or a Pelican M3 would also be a nice option. The Peli will be a nice light, but not as absolutely solid as the Malkoff.
For high CRI though, a Malkoff lamp in a body of your choice is the way to go.

PS - All of these setups will run on either CR123s or lithium rechargeables. If you want to stick to something more common, like AA or AAA, that changes the game a little. You COULD set up a Malkoff M31 in an MD3 or the Peli M3 (two AAs will fit). I'm in the process of building a light like that to run on two eneloop AAs. It'll give you a rock solid package without needing to spend money on CR123s OR deal with lithium-ions.
 

LEDphile

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
314
If you want to stick to something more common, like AA or AAA, that changes the game a little. You COULD set up a Malkoff M31 in an MD3 or the Peli M3 (two AAs will fit). I'm in the process of building a light like that to run on two eneloop AAs. It'll give you a rock solid package without needing to spend money on CR123s OR deal with lithium-ions.
Malkoff M31, VME head, and a 2xAA MDC body would also work
 

turbodog

Flashaholic
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
6,425
Location
central time
... I need to be able to see details on the tail of an airliner, say 50-100 feet away, at night so high CRI would be a big benefit I think. Gotta be able to differentiate between oil and bird blood you know? ...

Original surefire A2 was made SPECIFICALLY for this purpose.
 

LEDphile

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
314
Original surefire A2 was made SPECIFICALLY for this purpose.
With all 50 Surefire lumens (almost certainly higher in reality, but not likely to be above 100lm) in a beam that wasn't super narrow. Even the replacement A2L was only in the 120-140 lumen range (at about 2000 candela), although not high-CRI.
 

Bicycleflyer

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
470
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Original surefire A2 was made SPECIFICALLY for this purpose.
They made a flashlight and named it the "aviator". That was probably a marketing decision. When they were developing it I don't think they ever took one on an airplane. I think if they had asked for pilot input, they would have been forced to redesign the thing.

As pilot who owns and has tried the Incandescent version of the A2, i found it to be overpriced and not very cockpit friendly. The main beam was not bright enough to get the tail feathers of the 747 or tight enough to see into a 727s engines. But too bright in the cockpit. There are better lights out there. The only reason I keep it is it seems to becoming a collectors item.
 
Last edited:

scootertrs

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 7, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Florida
You guys realize if our better/smarter halves saw this post, they would ban us for life. :cool:-Future's so bright, you have to wear shades... Yes dear, I need one of each... yeah right! That is how I ended up with a foregrip for the HK Mp5... beautiful light... yet, now I needed the Mp5 to go on it... then the license from ATF, etc. so on and so forth... You guys understand our dilemma.,, I guess its better than buying crack!!!
 
Top