What’s a Light-all?

There has been some misunderstanding as to what light-alls were. They are usually described as ‘gas-powered’, but this is the American usage of the term gas, short for gasoline, which in the UK is known as petrol. Portable lighting towers powered by petrol generators are familiar from construction sites. In the USAF they were more correctly known as NF-2 light carts. Here is the technical description:

The NF-2 is used to provide a portable light source for USAF night operations in areas where more permanent illumination is not available. Uses include aircraft maintenance, munitions loading and emergency or remote-area lighting.

The NF-2 has two 445-watt mercury vapor floodlights on a retractable platform which may be raised to any height between 78 and 144 inches using a handcrank. A two-cylinder air-cooled gasoline engine drives a generator to supply power to the lights and to an external receptacle. The outlet may be used for soldering irons, drills and other accessory equipment allowing on-the-spot repairs. The lights also may be powered by an external power source if necessary.

Source: National Museum of the US Air Force.

USAF Light-all as used in Rendlesham Forest