Lightning Strikes: Protection, Inspection, and RepairLightning protection is used on Boeing airplanes to avoid delays and interruptions as well as reduce the significance of lightning strikes.
While Boeing airplanes incorporate extensive lightning-strike protection, strikes can cause costly delays and service interruptions. Source: The data in figures 3 and 4 was adapted from data in Lightning Protection of Aircraft by Franklin A.
By understanding nature and the effects of lightning strikes, Boeing works to design and test its commercial airplanes for lightning-strike protection to ensure protection is provided throughout their service lives. Areas that have the greatest likelihood of a direct lightning attachment incorporate some type of lightning protection.
The large amount of data gathered from airplanes in service constitutes an important source of lightning-strike protection information that Boeing uses to make improvements in lightning-strike damage control that will reduce significant lightning-strike damage if proper maintenance is performed.
Lightning can also damage composite airplane structures if protection finish is not applied, properly designed, or adequate. Approximately 42 percent of the lightning strikes reported by airline pilots were experienced with no thunderstorms reported in the immediate area by the pilots.


Typically, first attachment is to the radome, forward fuselage, nacelle, empennage, or wing tip.
Material selection, finish selection, installation, and application of protective features are important methods of lightning-strike damage reduction. This is the type of damage that can occur if a lightning protection finish is not applied or is inadequate. As an example, the radome may be the area of an initial entry point, but the lightning channel may be pushed back along the fuselage aft of the radome by the forward motion of the airplane. Maintenance personnel should consult chapter five of the Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) for the airplane model being inspected. Maintenance personnel should restore the original structural integrity, ultimate load strength, protective finish, and materials after a lightning strike. Topics include the types of damage, lightning-strike protection design principles, damage inspection methods, allowable damage limits, repairs, and restoration of protective methods.
While Boeing airplanes incorporate extensive lightning-strike protection, lightning strikes can still affect airline operations and cause costly delays or service interruptions.


Lightning protection is used on Boeing airplanes to avoid delays and interruptions as well as reduce the significance of the strike. In the rest of the world, lightning tends to occur most near the equator because the warmth in this region contributes to convection, creating widespread thunderstorms nearly daily.
Composite parts that are in lightning-strike prone areas must have appropriate lightning protection. To increase the effectiveness of repairs to damage caused by lightning, maintenance personnel must be familiar with lightning protection measures, proper inspection, and repair procedures. Significant events are rare because of the lightning protection engineered into the airplane and its sensitive electronic components.



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