"Ice Cream Sandwich"™ Med-Evac Landing Zone Flare


The ICS™ Landing Zone Kit is sold in sets of 5 LZ flares. Included in each set is 5 radio-linked LZ flares, 5 range extender bases, carrying case, installed batteries, extra set of batteries. 

We do offer a rechargeable ICS™ Landing Zone Kit. Included are the 5 radio-linked LZ flares, 5 range extender bases, carrying/charging case, lithium batteries installed, car charger, wall charger.

The LZ Kit is sold standard with infrared side LEDs/Green visible top LEDs packaged into a military green housing.

We do have other visible LED colors available upon request. Available colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, White. Custom colors also available upon request and volume. 

We have distributors world-wide.  Where we do not have a distributor close by, we can work with you directly.  Call us 24×7 to discuss color options, battery choice, and general information.  


Turning on and positioning the Landing Zone flares

NOTE:  a tap is a momentary press of a button: a hold requires a 3-second press of a button

It does not matter which LZ flare is turned on 1st. They are all identical.  Simply tap (a momentary press) the round power button.  The small green LED will come on indicating that the flare is turned on and “thinking”.  The 1st flare will take approximately 3 seconds to begin to flash.  Subsequent flares will take less than 1 second. All subsequent flares must be turned on AFTER the preceding flare is flashing.  If 2 flares are turned on simultaneously, or too quickly in succession, the algorithm might confuse the numbers.  This can be used to your advantage – more on this later.

As discussed in other sections of the website, radio frequency energy is severely attenuated when the transmitter is placed on the pavement of ground. The line-of-sight range of our product line when mounted 30 cm (12 inches) or more above the earth is greater than 330 meters (1000 feet).  However, when placed on the ground the range is reduced to 15 meters (50 feet).

The typical landing zone requires a 33 meter (100 foot) square.  To achieve this the team at Pi Variables, Inc. has developed a novel design.  By stacking 2 flares atop each other, the antenna can be raised 2.5 cm above the earth which is sufficient to achieve a range of 35 meters (120 feet).

Deployment is easy.  Simply tug an active LZ flare off the magnetic carrying case, slap it on to a range extender, and pull both off the case together.  Turn on the stacked device and place it on the ground.  Simple as that. To pack up, simply separate the active device from the range extender and snap both onto the case.  Does not matter which pocket on the carrying case you place the range extender or active flare.

A typical MedEvac landing zone consist of a 33 meter (100 ft by 100 ft) square. At each corner of the square a ground crew will place one Pi-Lit® LZ flare. The 5th LZ flare is used to denote the direction of wind and is placed out side the square.  

Using the range extender in combination with the active flare, turn on the active flares one at a time.  They will flash in unison.  Place them at the corner of the 33 meter (100 foot) square.

The operator has the choice of visible light only, infrared light only, or alternating visible and infrared.  The pilot will specify.  Using the round power button, a single brief tap will turn the device on. Once flashing, turn on successive devices one at a time and only after the preceding device is flashing.

Once all 5 flares are flashing, a press of the round button will cycle through the 2 pattern choices.

The square Pi (π) will lock either visible light, infrared light, or alternating flashes.  The small green LED “telltale” will indicate when infrared LEDs are flashing.

We recommend that the flares be retrieved and placed on the carrying case while they are still flashing.  This will prevent leaving a flare behind in the shadows.  Once they flares are placed on the carrying case, simply press and hold the round power button for 3 seconds on any one active flare and this will turn off all of the flares.

Operating LZ Flares

The pilot may ask for infrared, visible, or alternating light from the flare.  Pressing the square Pi (π) button will cycle through the choices.  The green indicator LED flashes simultaneously with the flash of infrared LEDs.

There are two flash patterns available.  We had more, but simplicity dictates limited choices.  Pressing the round power button will cycle through the two choices.

Pattern descriptions below:
– Pattern 1 = Long duration single flash
– Pattern 2 = “Roll on, Roll off” pattern (smooth transition pattern)

To turn off a single LZ flare, press and hold the square Pi (π) for 3 seconds.

To turn off all the flares, press and hold the round power button for 3 seconds on any flare.

Battery Status, Changing Batteries, Charging Flares

The ICS™ Landing Zone Flare is the only electronic flare on the market that lets the user check the state of the battery. No more random changing of batteries. Ask the flare before turning it on! 

To do so, when the flare is powered off (not flashing) simply tap the square “π” button.

  • 5 Green Flashes = full battery
  • 4 Green Flashes = 80-60%
  • 3 Green Flashes = 60-30%
  • 2 Red Flashes = 30-15% (Low -change or charge batteries)
  • 1 Red Flash = 15-0% (Depleted -change or charge batteries)

In addition to being the only electronic flare on the market that has the ability to inteogate the flares level of battery, the team at Pi-Lit® engineered the flare to be extremely efficient, using as little energy as possible. With battery life surpassing 24hrs on the lithium rechargeable version and 50hrs on the alkaline version, users can get multiple deployments on a single charge or set of batteries saving you time and money.

Using a key, finger nail, or other simple tool swing the 4 swivels away from the magnet-battery lid.  Either pry out the batteries or slap the flare in the palm of your hand or on a table.  The batteries will come out.  Take care to observe and replace the batteries with proper polarity.

In general, no. Here’s the deal.  Alkaline batteries are nominal 1.6 volts.  Hence, 4 batteries in series is 6.4 volts.  Red, amber (yellow), and orange side LEDs require 2.0 volts to turn on. The ICS firmware is designed to control brightness based upon a 6.4 volt source. Lithium batteries are nominal 3.7 volts (8.4 with full charge). Hence, 4 AA-style lithium rechargeable batteries will lead to 14.8 volts when placed in series. This will exceed the voltage allowed for the various components on the flare. So, unless you wish to emulate a flame flare with our electronic product (meaning, smoke will start rising), best not to do this. 

The carrying case doubles as a charge station for all the flares in a set (10, 6, or 4).  Simply snap the flares onto the case (in any of the pockets) and plug the barrel plug into either the wall adapter or the cigarette lighter plug of the vehicle.  You cannot charge from a U.S.B. connector, and the 10 flares will draw too much current while charging.  When fully depleted the batteries will take approximately 5 hours to recharge.  The red LED indicates charging; the green LED represents a fully charged lithium battery.

NOTE: DO NOT CHARGE THE FLARES IN THE HEAT OF A CAR IN SUMMER , AND DO NOT LEAVE THE FLARES IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT IN A HOT CAR.  The trunk or behind a seat is much cooler than in direct sunlight. The battery charging system has 2 temperature protection devices.  When too hot (greater than 140 degrees Fahrenheit) the charge system will shut off and the flare will not operate.

No.  The lithium battery is custom designed specifically for the ICS™ product.  We can provide replacement battery and charge systems should you require one.  However, we anticipate, based upon conservative design parameters, that you should enjoy 1500 charge cycles.  It will not compromise your battery to leave it charging continuously.



Pi-Lit® technology operates in the I.S.M. 2.4Ghz frequency band. This spectrum of radio frequency is dedicated to low power devices designed for  use in the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical industries (I.S.M.).

Indeed.  All of our products utilize a “System on a Chip” (SoC) with microprocessor (computer) and radio transmitter and receiver all on a single silicon wafer.  This component is FCC compliant and our circuit design has been tested by an independent laboratory confirming that spurious signals and radio-frequency output energy fall within strict FCC guidelines, and that the device is immune from external radio-frequency interference.

The LZ Kit is available as either a rechargeable (lithium ion) system or replaceable alkaline battery powered. There are pro’s and con’s to each.  Alkaline batteries have a longer shelf-life, and when left on the shelf alkaline batteries will maintain their charge for 3-5 years.  When operating they will flash for 30-40 hours.  And when in a pinch, they can be purchased down the street at the local convenience store.  But if used, you must change 20 batteries periodically.  On the other hand, lithium batteries can be charged continuously in the vehicle, will flash for 20-30 hours, and do not require changing (1000 cycles typical).  However, if you forget to charge them and the helicopter is approaching, you will have some explaining to do.  The charge of any lithium batteries depletes by 3% per month when left unattended. But modern charge technology allows for continuous charging without harming the battery.

The Pi-Lit® product line operates at 6.0 volts nominal. In fact, 4-alkaline cells (whether AA or D-cell) in series generates 6.4 volts with fresh batteries. The rechargeable system utilizes lithium polymer battery technology with nominal voltage of 7.4 volts (8.4 volts with fresh charge).

In all of our systems the “smart” electronics (micro-controllers, multiplexers, and stuff like that) operate and 3.0 volts requiring a 3.0 volt regulator to maintain a constant 3.0 volts.  The LEDs operate at a higher voltage.  Lamp brightness (intensity) is controlled through Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), where the duty cycle (percentage of on-time to off-time) during a 1-millisecond flash is varied according to the battery voltage.  As the battery depletes, the duty cycle increases to maintain constant brightness.  This approach is much more efficient because it eliminates the need for large current-limiting resistors which convert electric current flow into heat.  What appears to the onlooker as a 200 millisecond flash (2 tenths of a second) is really 200  flashes each 1 millisecond long.  Your eye cannot resolve this rapid a flash, and it all blends together.  But by varying the duty cycle the intensity can be controlled.

The Pi-Lit technology utilizes 2.4GHz radio communication.  At this frequency and with power available when battery powered we routinely achieve 300 meters (1000 feet) range between flares WHEN MOUNTED 30 cm (12 inches) or more above the ground.  However, when placed on the ground (grass or asphalt), the radio signal strength is severely attenuated; the earth is a big sponge for radio energy.  The range of our standard flare is 15 meters (50 feet) when placed on the earth’s surface.  So, we “double-stack” the LZ flares to raise them 3 cm off the earth’s surface which provides for 50 meters (160 feet) line-of-sight range.  This range provides a safety margin for the typical 30 meter (100 foot) square called for in typical temporary rotary landing zones.  When any of our products are placed atop a cone or barricade, you can expect 300 meter (1000 feet) radio links.


On occasion your computer goes bonkers.  The same may happen to the ICS™ LZ flare. After all, the micro-controller is a sophisticated computer. You can reboot the flare computer by either removing one of the alkaline batteries and pressing buttons for a few seconds, or placing the lithium product on the charger and plugging in the wall or vehicle charger.  Both will remove power from the micro-controller and effectively reboot the product.  Pressing a button when the batteries are out or when on the powered charger will discharge the capacitors on the circuit board.  Capacitors help to filter the battery voltage.  The ICS™ LZ flare uses so little power when off that the capacitors will provide voltage to the micro-controller for 1 minute or more even without batteries or power.  Pressing a button discharges the capacitors.

If your ICS™ LZ flare is powered on and flashing out the top LEDs when it should be flashing out the side LEDs then this quick fix will resolve the issue. For both versions of the LZ flare (rechargeable and alkaline) you must reset the flare in order to unlock the top LEDs. To do so follow these instructions:

Alkaline – Simply remove the batteries in the flare. Once removed tap either the square button or round button to discharge the flare completely (resetting the flare). Install the batteries back into the flare.
Rechargeable – To reset a rechargeable flare, attached the flare to the carrying/charging case. Once attached plug the case into your vehicle or wall socket at your home or office. Once plugged in the flare indicator LED should turn red, showing the flare is currently charging. While its charging tap either the square or round button to discharge the flare completely (resetting the flare).  Once you have tapped the button you may pull the flare off the case. The flare will flash its main LEDs and flash the green indicator LEDs for current battery state.

This bug has been resolved. Newly purchase flares will not have this issue. 


ICS™ Landing Zone Flare Operating Manuals

ICS™ Landing Zone Kit - Quick Start Guide PDF

ICS™ Landing Zone Kit - Instruction Manual PDF

ICS™ Landing Zone Flare Product Brochures

ICS™ Rechargeable Landing Zone Kit - Product Brochure PDF


Close Menu