Michael Hanz AAFRadio at EROLS.COM
Sun Oct 18 15:21:14 EDT 1998

Ed Tanton wrote:
> There IS a luminous paint available... it glows for 8-10 hours after
> exposure to direct sunlight-although I imagine strong room light might
> suffice. It is called "Nite Bright Luminous Paint"

Ed correctly identified the paint used in most of the aircraft
instruments since about 1939.  None of my WWII aircraft instruments or
control boxes register anything on the radiation monitor, and for good
reason.  If you have some of the Erection and Maintenance Manuals for
the WWII aircraft, you'll notice they all have cockpit lights (certainly
not the case for the ground pounder folks, who needed radium dials to
see the markings at night in the jungle.)  I can give anyone interested
a rundown on the various types of cockpit lights, but they are usually
identified as "fluorescent", when in fact the more accurate term is
ultraviolet, or "black" light.  With this available, the airborne
community saeems to have leaned toward the luminous paint approach
rather than the more expensive (and dangerous) radium paint, which I
seem to recall has the same paint mechanism for producing the visible
light...radium needs an assiciated secondary compound to emit photons of
the visible light variety.  For $25 bucks you can light up your military
aircraft radio setup beautifully, using a black light sold for parties
(don't buy the incandescent ones - they don't work worth a hoot.)
Strangley enough, this doesn't include the venerable ART-13, which looks
like it *should* glow but doesn't, and some other curious exceptions.
The ARC-5 equipment like switches and knobs light up very nicely, but
don't count on anything from the SCR-274N.  Go figure.

Mike Hanz  KC4TOS
Herndon, VA

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