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Thread: Lightning and tube and fabric?

  1. #1
    L18C-95's Avatar
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    Lightning and tube and fabric?

    The Piper Pacer was in its day IFR, how does a tube and fabric design deal with static and potential lightning strikes?

    My Super Cub is strictly day VFR and keeps a wide berth of convective stuff, but was interested on whether there is a Faraday cage effect for fabric aircraft and how modern types, eg Husky, cope with IFR conditions in the absence of static wicks etc.


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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Saw a Tri-Pacer get hit by lightening on the ground once. Hit the strobe on the rudder and came out at the main gear axle. Didn'tfind any other issues. I would give lightening a wide berth in a Pacer or Tri-Pacer, actually any airplane.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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    PerryB's Avatar
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    Did anything get welded? It would have gone through the rudder hinges, gear pivots and wheel bearings.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !

  4. #4

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    Why would a steel-tube fuselage react to a lightning strike any differently than an all-aluminum airplane? Both steel and aluminum are excellent conductors of electricity...
    Jim Parker
    '65 Champion 7ECA - Flying
    ?? Bearhawk Patrol - Building
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  5. #5
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerryB View Post
    Did anything get welded? It would have gone through the rudder hinges, gear pivots and wheel bearings.
    Not that I remember, jumped from the inboard part of the axle/streamline tube prior to getting to the wheel.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    fobjob's Avatar
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    In theory, a steel tube conducting thousands of amps might burst if the air inside were expanded enough by the heat. But, I don’t think the discharge is quite long enough to do that, and I’ve never heard of it happening...?
    Composite aircraft have ruptured in the early days, prompting the embedding of copper conductors in the wings...



    *In theory, theory and practice are the same...in practice, they aren’t....

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    PerryB's Avatar
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    My greatest respect of lightning came in about 1983. I was flying my recently deceased dad's Skybolt ( hopped up IO-540, all the mods) and was parked on the ramp at an area airport. I was just stepping onto the wing and had a hand on the cockpit edge when there was a strike about 1/4 mile away. The magnetic induction was great enough that it knocked me off the wing and gave me a good "bite". I'll remember that all my sentient days.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !
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  8. #8
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fobjob View Post
    *In theory, theory and practice are the same...in practice, they arenít....
    Hmmm . . .reminds me of downwind turns !!



    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.
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    Having been on a beach catamaran (Pringle 1 that took a direct hit to the mast, I think Iíll pass any further tests.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Having been on a beach catamaran (Pringle 1 that took a direct hit to the mast, I think Iíll pass any further tests.
    So your our in the middle of the lake in a thunderstorm holding up a 30í aluminum pole. Itís a wonder your still around!


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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveE View Post
    So your our in the middle of the lake in a thunderstorm holding up a 30’ aluminum pole. It’s a wonder your still around!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Borrowed boat for a rescue dash, mine was safe on the trailer with the mast down, picked 3 out of the water and was almost back to shore when it got interesting. There arn’t many I would recondend it to but I really think you should give it a whirl...
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 06-26-2018 at 05:14 AM.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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  12. #12
    fobjob's Avatar
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    Time for a golf joke.....
    A famous golfer who had once been hit by lightning was being interviewed by the press at a tournament...”What would you do if you saw a thunderstorm approaching while you were out on the course?” He said:”I would pull my one iron out of the bag, hold it up over my head, and run for the clubhouse.”
    After a puzzled silence, they asked “Why would you do that, isn’t it dangerous to hold up something metal?”
    He answered: “ Even God can’t hit a one iron...”


    (Lee Trevino)(true story)
    Last edited by fobjob; 06-25-2018 at 11:53 PM.
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  13. #13
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    When lightning hits, visualize the voltage in concentric circles around the hit on the ground. If you are standing close enough, and one foot is closer to the hit than the other, then the voltage difference between the ground under one foot can be thousands of volts different than the ground under your other foot. It can jump though the soles of your shoes, up one leg and down another, and fry you. Whole herds of grazing animals are zapped this way with just one hit.
    Stand on one foot, or get off the conductive surface....
    Last edited by fobjob; 06-27-2018 at 04:28 PM.
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  14. #14
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Borrowed boat for a rescue dash, mine was safe on the trailer with the mast down, picked 3 out of the water and was almost back to shore when it got interesting. There arn’t many I would recondend it to but I really think you should give it a whirl...
    That might speed up the process of him being reincarnated as a wild hog in north eastern Oklahoma.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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