Graybar Helps Duncan Aviation Perform More Efficient Plane Maintenance with Lighting Upgrades

Duncan Aviation Case Study

Duncan Aviation is the largest family-owned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the world providing acquisition sales and support services for business aircraft. Throughout nearly 20 hangars across its headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, workers offer complete service, modification, parts and support capabilities for most makes and models of business aircraft.


In 2012, Duncan Aviation began making plans to build a new hangar to house and showcase its most elite customer planes. It turned to Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products, for a more energy-efficient lighting solution to meet the unique requirements of the new hangar.

Since performing maintenance on an airplane requires a steady hand and a sharp eye, having the right lighting is essential.


Graybar Project Specialist Teri Persinger worked closely with Commonwealth Electric Project Executive Bob Philipps and Tectonic Management Group to find an energy-efficient lighting solution with long-rated lifetimes and minimum maintenance requirements.

“Since it takes so much effort getting the planes out of the hangar to do work on the fixtures, something requiring less maintenance such as LED lighting saves money and time,” said Philipps.

The team eventually determined that the GE Albeo™ LED high bay lighting fixtures would be the best fit for the new 150,000 square-foot hangar.

“With all the maintenance issues, specifically lamp and ballast replacement, and the nuisance of having to move multi-million dollar aircraft to accommodate such work, it didn’t take long to realize that the originally specified product—a 10-lamp linear fluorescent high bay luminaire—was not going to be feasible,” Persinger said. “We worked together to identify alternate solutions in an LED offering. I had previously sold Albeo LED high bay fixtures, so I was happy to share my experience, addressing the quality, ease of installation, performance and light output of the Albeo six-bar LED fixture.”

We wanted improved lighting for our aircraft maintenance hangars. We also were hoping to achieve more efficient use of electricity and less maintenance, specifically with fewer needs for changing out fixtures or replacing burned-out lamps.


Jeff Lake | vice president and chief operating officer for Duncan Aviation



In 2014, the fixtures were installed and the response was so positive that the Albeo fixture soon was identified as a retrofit solution for other existing hangars.

“Retrofitting the entire campus came to fruition as a grassrootslike effect. The technicians were so impressed by the great lighting quality in the new hangar, they continuously made comments to management, who told the owners of its impact,” said Philipps. “It’s the best quality lighting we’ve worked with.”

Workers have already replaced legacy metal halide fixtures in three hangars with the LED lighting fixtures, which improved foot-candle levels from 75 fc to 100 fc. The Albeo fixtures, which are expected to provide more than $15,000 in annual energy savings in just the three facilities, will illuminate all hangars throughout Duncan Aviation’s campus within the next few years. Additional savings are found through diminished maintenance needs due to the rated 100,000-hour life of the Albeo fixture compared to the rated 20,000-hour life of metal halides.

“With the goal of keeping overhead down and Duncan Aviation moving in a green direction, this was overall the right choice,” said Philipps. “The owners are impressed by the light quality and more so because technicians now have great light quality when servicing aircraft.”

By replacing metal halide fixtures in three hangars with LEDs, Duncan Aviation has managed to improve footcandle levels from 75 fc to 100 fc. The GE Albeo fixtures are expected to provide more than $15,000 in annual energy savings in the three facilities. Additional savings will be found through diminished maintenance needs due to the rated 100,000-hour life of the Albeo fixture compared to a 20,000-rated life of metal halides.

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