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New Mexico Tech Researchers Map Lightning Strikes

Physics researchers at New Mexico Tech are developing instrumentation to take 3D images of lightning strikes. This research seeks to identify the process which lightning forms and then propagates. Take a look at the following video that shows some of the results of their measurements. More information about New Mexico Tech’s research is available at their website: New Mexico Tech...

Cardiff University Students Tackle Lightning Issue

Physics students at Cardiff University in Wales, UK are investigating methods to measure paint thickness on metal and composite parts. Paint thickness measurements can be a difficult task but one that is necessary to maintain lightning protection. Thick coatings of paint will cause lightning to stay in a particular location longer than thinner coatings. The longer lightning is focused in one area, the more damage it will do. Lightning engineers put restrictions on the thicknesses of aircraft coatings to make sure that lightning does not create significant damage. However, it is often difficult to measure coatings in field since the current paint thickness equipment is relatively expensive and requires a qualified operator. If the students at Cardiff can create a simple thickness measurement device, it will help the industry immensely. Read the full article here: Cardiff University...

New Video: Huge static discharges during air refueling of 747

This terrific video shows how much voltage is generated when aircraft fly through clouds, particularly clouds with ice. As a KC-135 tanker approaches with its refueling probe to fuel a military 747 (E-4), huge sparks occur between the tanker and 747. Many of these discharges appear to occur on or near the radome and the refueling port. These size sparks are only generated when there are several million volts of potential difference between the...

Lightning Location Network Senses Volcanic Eruptions

The World Wide Lightning Location Network is being utilized to detect for volcanic eruptions around the world. When volcanos spew ash and soot into the atmosphere the friction between the particles creates large static discharges that are similar to lightning strikes. The Lightning Location Network detects these discharges and can help pinpoint an eruption before satellite photos or other detection methods. See the news article from the University of Washington here: Volcano Detection...

Boeing 777 Models Receive Lightning AD from FAA

The FAA is proposing a new airworthiness directive for Boeing 777’s. It appears that bonding brackets for the rudder are failing in-service. A failure of a bonding bracket could allow additional lightning currents on the rudder flight controls and composite surfaces. A summary of the AD is below. The full text is contained in the following link: 2011-28568 We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 777-200 and -300 series airplanes. This proposed AD would require replacing certain single-tabbed bonding brackets in the airplane empennage with two-tabbed bonding brackets. This proposed AD would also require, for certain airplanes, installing new bonding jumpers, and measuring the resistance of the modified installation to verify resistance is within specified limits. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of two failures of the single-tabbed bracket on the rudder. We are proposing this AD to prevent failure of the bonding jumper bracket, which could result in loss of lightning protection ground path, which could lead to increased lightning-induced currents and subsequent damage to composite structures, hydraulic tubes, and actuator control electronics. In the event of a lightning strike, loss of lightning ground protection could result in the loss of control of the...