Mon Oct 01, 2001 11:35 pm

Hello -

What kind of technology/equipment to jets have to deter lightning strikes during flight ?

Are there any sort of "lightning rods" on the surface of the wings/fuselage?

Thanks !



RE: Lightning

Tue Oct 02, 2001 12:33 am

The lightning, when striking an aircraft, travels as it would on a car or any other conductive material. The electricity travels on the outer surface of the aircraft. Therefore there is no need to protect the objects within the aircraft.

That is if everything works like it is supposed to do, but you never know with lightning, some electrical surge might be present. But I´m not aware of any protective systems. I could imagine there being some kind of protection against electrical surges, protecting the electronics.
(please, correct me if wrong)

The only lightning"rods" I´m aware of are the one´s built in to propeller blades. On the Dowty blades it is actually more of a woven metal strip that runs along the whole blade.
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RE: Lightning

Tue Oct 02, 2001 12:42 am

It usually exits the a/c at the tail or the horizontal stab or through wing trailing edges , static discharge wicks maybe, anyway it only makes a hole were it exits the a/c and then you have to do hardness tests around the area sometimes stretching across alot of structure,the manuals for the a/c are very detailed for this inspection,
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RE: Lightning

Tue Oct 02, 2001 12:54 am

It should be noted static electricity on the a/c is drained through the U/c on landing and hardness tests are also done for fires on the a/c also, Im saving a smartarse some hassle!!!
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RE: Lightning

Tue Oct 02, 2001 11:36 am

The most vulnerable part of an aircraft to lightning is, of course, the radar. Radomes have metal strips built into them to discharge the voltage to the metal airframe where it usually does no damage. The repair of lightning strikes to aircraft is a cherished job to any sheetmetal man. Drill the hole out with an "E" bit and put a 1/4 rivet in. Simple and easy. Keeps two people busy for about an hour without sweating. Six or seven tiny holes to fill, no NDT to perform. The worst part of a lightning strike on an airplane is that the aircraft is in a place it really shouldn't be.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.

RE: Lightning

Tue Oct 02, 2001 4:49 pm

The best defense that we have against lightnning strikes is avoidance. As far as corporate jets go, our "electronic" avoidence tools consist of weather radar and spherics detectors (Stormscopes, et al) I've been flying aircraft that have been equipted with both tools for 15 years and I would be hard pressed to have to choose which one is most effective. In practice you use the stormscope to determine which area to avoid and the radar to avoid it. The spherics detectors are great tools, I don't understand why they haven't been accepted by the airlines.
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RE: Lightning

Mon Oct 08, 2001 11:35 am

I was up Saturday from SDL and ran into some bad lightning in the C172- we had to make a "semi" emergency landing so we wouldn't get hit.
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RE: Lightning

Mon Oct 08, 2001 12:06 pm

You can also see static wicks on the trailing edge of some older jets. There were three near the wingtip of the last Fokker 100 I rode with USAirways.

Up, up and away!
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RE: Lightning

Mon Oct 08, 2001 12:17 pm

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.

RE: Lightning

Mon Oct 08, 2001 12:25 pm

Something else that hasn't been mentioned so far is the havoc that the massive electrical current plays with the internal engine components such as engine bearings, etc. when lightning passes through them. It can do really nasty things to engines.

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