Lightning

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
28,590
6,343
Kent Island!
True, but assuming that "current in" ultimately leads to a charge-bearing cloud or air mass, and "current out" ultimately leads to ground (or vice versa), an airplane sitting in the middle of the air is in a very different condition from an object connected in some way to ground.
Yup, due to skin effect the lightning essentially is guided around the airplane. Oddly enough it isn't that loud, it was like a champagne cork pop and then all the avionics power tripped off. A reset got it all on, no harm, no foul.
That does not mean there is NEVER any damage. Fiberglass bits can be damaged, the radome if you have one is prone to that.
I heard of actual engine damage where the bolt struck the prop and the engine bearings were damaged by the current flow.
iu

Radome taken out by lightning.
 

KramN

New member
46
88
True, but assuming that "current in" ultimately leads to a charge-bearing cloud or air mass, and "current out" ultimately leads to ground (or vice versa), an airplane sitting in the middle of the air is in a very different condition from an object connected in some way to ground.
Not for the topic of lightening protection. Sketch out the circuit.
 

2airishuman

The Loyal Opposition
1,044
523
Minneapolis area
This fellow has a lot of ideas that make sense and are supported by science and actual testing.

marinelightning.com

As posted upthread the prevalence of cell phone towers in lightning-prone areas forms a useful test bed and there is a better understanding of the behavior of lightning and the means by which protection can be achieved than was once the case.

Unfortunately there are quite a few snake oil salesman and the people who really understand lightning a) have nothing to prove and b) don't see yachts as potential source of profit.
 

TheDragon

Super Anarchist
3,538
1,582
East central Illinois
I met Colin on Parlay Revival briefly in 2021 when they were still in nearby Linton Bay Marina and I was working on my boat in Panamarina. Except than that we both have sailboats, we have precious little in common, but this new vid from La Vagabonde reveals we both think lightning strikes on boats are primarily about luck, and we are both unable to get insurance. Starts around 11 min below. Rest of it is their typical vacuous stuff.

 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
28,590
6,343
Kent Island!
Aircraft normally blow a hole where it exits high on the tail/rudder
The top of the tail is usually a plastic or fiberglass fairing, not metal, so it would be one place that definitely could have that happen.
One manual for post-lightning inspection shows a graphic of the strike walking back along the top of the plane from nose to tail and then the exit walking aft on the bottom of the plane from about amidships to the tail.
Here is what happens to an unprotected fiberglass airplane when hit:
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
28,590
6,343
Kent Island!
Meanwhile, back to boats, I was aboard a big cat that had heavy ground cable run from the mast step that exited between the hulls. It was normally held up, but when in danger of a strike you could drop it and a ground terminal at the end of 2 gauge wire would hang in the water.
 

Sailabout

Super Anarchist
The top of the tail is usually a plastic or fiberglass fairing, not metal, so it would be one place that definitely could have that happen.
One manual for post-lightning inspection shows a graphic of the strike walking back along the top of the plane from nose to tail and then the exit walking aft on the bottom of the plane from about amidships to the tail.
Here is what happens to an unprotected fiberglass airplane when hit:

I have been waiting in airports on OZ when aircraft get a strike on approach.
Taxi's to the gate, crew come out in a cherry picker and always just go up and inspect the high part on the tail.
Thats where I learnt that.
 

Sailabout

Super Anarchist
Meanwhile, back to boats, I was aboard a big cat that had heavy ground cable run from the mast step that exited between the hulls. It was normally held up, but when in danger of a strike you could drop it and a ground terminal at the end of 2 gauge wire would hang in the water.
Put a boat in Charter in NSW in OZ, must have spike on mast and dedicated plate underwater.
 

Dogfish

Member
333
201
Mine has a 4awg wire to a copper strip which is folded to create a load of edge surface area which lightning likes ? ?? but is the current thinking so rather than the size of plate it is the edge surface area which is more important. It's a cat so cable drops direct into water left hanging down when moored. Fibreglass and resin are normally non conductive so on the plane issue something else is happening maybe something to do with the lightning jumping between metal components and superheating the laminate in the process. Could just smash through the glass to the metal component seen it happen to brick walls but I am no expert on the matter.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
10,913
7,486
Canada
On our cat we had a #2 cable bolted with a lug to the base of the mast. Then a coil of wire, with a copper pipe (flattened a bit to give an edge). There was a 1" fiberglass tube it ran in through the bridgedeck. When lightening threatened pipe would get lowered into the water. Just had to remember to retrieve it when at anchor before sailing or the copper pipe would bend a bit. At sea, we had to slow down to use it for same reason. In retrospect a piece of copper flat bar would be better to resist bending and also sharp edges but copper pipe is cheap :)

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