Re: Thunderstorms

From:         ehahn@fairlite.mitre.org (Ed Hahn)
Organization: The MITRE Corporation, McLean, Va.
Date:         22 Jun 94 16:57:49 
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In article <airliners.1994.1335@ohare.Chicago.COM> laewell@iastate.edu (Lars A Ewell) writes:

	   While taking a recent flight from LaGuardia on a
   727-200 we flew through a rather significant thunderstorm.
   The rain was coming down pretty hard but what got my 
   attention was at least one lightning flash that was not 
   too far from the plane.  Are most commercial airliners
   protected against lightning flashes?  Has there ever
   been a record of lightning striking an airliner and if
   so, what were the consequences?

----
While commercial airliners do not get hit often by lightning, it is
not uncommon.  Airliners have static discharge wicks, which look like
black "antennas" sticking out the trailing edge of wings and tail
surfaces.  Lightning tends to hit these rather than the fuselage.

These static wicks do another duty by dissapating static charge which
accumulates on the fuselage into the air stream by a mechanism I don't
know too much about, quite frankly.  The main problem with static
buildup is that it can affect the comm radios and other RF devices.
Airlines go through much effort to insure that static wicks and
antennas are securely bonded to the airframe.

My $0.02,
ed

////////   Ed Hahn | ehahn@mitre.org | (703) 883-5988   \\\\\\\\
The above comment reflects the opinions of the author, and does not
constitute endorsement or implied warranty by the MITRE Corporation.
Really, I wouldn't kid you about a thing like this.