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Rain Erosion Causes Aircraft Lightning Diverter Failure. Is it Preventable?

Rain Erosion Causes Aircraft Lightning Diverter Failure. Is it Preventable?

Rain erosion is a common cause of aircraft lightning diverter failure, risking damage to the planes they’re supposed to protect. But, is this preventable? What can airplane owners do to protect themselves? Why Most Aircraft Lightning Diverters Fail: Rain Erosion Lightning diverters have a big job to do: they are expected to protect sensitive radar equipment on the front of an aircraft traveling hundreds of miles per hour in all weather conditions. They have to be light, thin, and aerodynamic. And, they have to divert up to one billion volts and up to 250,000 amps. YIKES. Yet, Aircraft Lightning Diverter Failure is NOT Usually Due to Lightning Itself. The numerous lightning diverter strips on the radome of a plane will be abused by rain, snow and sleet at hundreds of miles per hour. It’s an extreme environment, one that demands superior craftsmanship and materials to even stand a chance. Preventing failure of aircraft lightning protection is simple: buy the highest-quality protection available, from a company that is passionate about protecting your aircraft: WXGuard. Rain Simulations Show That Low-Quality Diverters Erode–and Fail– Quickly. Our WXGuard Diverters have drastically superior resistance to rain erosion. WXGuard lightning diverters didn’t just outperform standard diverters in rain erosion simulations, they crushed them. We have the data to prove it, from research commissioned at the University of Limerick. The photo above shows clearly that the manufacturing process and the quality of materials is critical in protecting aircraft from lightning strikes. What every fleet operator needs is simple: his or her planes in the air, generating revenue by moving people and cargo. The Lightning Diverter Can...

Boeing 737-700 Radome Damaged by Lightning

An Aerolineas flight headed for Ushuaia, Argentina (near the southern most tip of Argentina) was struck by lightning on approach to the airport. The lightning attached to the nose radome causing damage.  From the photo taken at the airport in Ushuaia, it appears the white paint around the metal bar lightning diverter is damaged and the bar is melted.  The aircraft was taken out of service as the radome required repairs. Details about the lightning strike can be found in this link to the news article:...

Airbus A319 takes radome strike in UK

A recent flight from Bristol to Edinburgh had an unexpected detour to Newcastle, UK after the aircraft was hit by lightning. A photo taken by a passenger shows a direct strike to the A319’s nose radome. The passengers continued their journey to Edinburgh by bus while the aircraft was inspected. More information is available at the following link:...

Four aircraft struck in Hawaii in single day

Four Hawaiian Airlines aircraft were struck on December 1, 2013 as they flew over the Hawaiian islands. According to local news reports the strikes happened in the following order: The first strike took place around 12:29 p.m. on Flight 19 from Sacramento to Honolulu. The next lightning strike happened at 4:10 p.m. on Flight 1121 from Hilo to Honolulu. The third lightning strike happened at around 5 p.m. on Flight 278 from Honolulu to Kona. The final lightning strike occurred at around 5:50 p.m. on Flight 236 from Honolulu to Kahului. Two of the aircraft were removed from service for repairs. More information is available at...

New Lightning Detection Network Running in Guinea

A new lightning detection network established by Earth Networks (Germantown, MD) has been installed in Guinea to quickly identify threatening storms. Lightning detection antennas were installed on a dozen cell phone towers around the country to provide real-time info. Read the full details at the following link: Lightning...

Airbus Lightning Tests A350 XWB

The Airbus A350 WXB underwent low-level lightning testing at the Clement Ader facility in France to clear the flight test aircraft for icing flights. The A350 XWB is constructed mainly of carbon fiber composite with a metal mesh embedded in the outer surface. The carbon fiber/metal mesh structure is an order of magnitude more resistive than conventional aluminum aircraft. Thus, extra measures are required to protect the sensitive electrical and electronic equipment in the aircraft. One of the techniques Airbus has employed is to route the aircraft’s wiring in metal conduit. The low-level testing was completed in about 3 days to clear the flight test aircraft. Further lightning testing is required later in the program to demonstrate the aircraft complies with EASA and FAA...

Same Ryanair 737-800 hit by lightning twice in two years

A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 flying into Dortmund (Germany) was struck by lightning during the approach on Sept 18, 2013. The aircraft landed safely but was taken out of service.  A replacement aircraft was sent to continue the flights. This is the second time in two years that this aircraft has been damaged by lightning.  In January 2012, the aircraft was struck while landing in Sweden.  That event caused damaged to the radome and the...

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