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Lightning Protection of Avionics Fall

October 5 @ 8:00 am - October 9 @ 12:00 pm

Lightning Protection of Avionics

Lightning Protection of Avionics is a four-and-one-half day course for engineers concerned with lightning protection design and certification for aircraft avionics, control, and other electrical systems. The course includes a detailed study of the physics of lightning indirect effects and coupling mechanisms, analysis and testing of transient levels, specific protection-design scenarios and techniques, and a thorough discussion of certification plans and verification-test methods and procedures. Emphasis is given to the protection of flight-critical and essential (Level A, B, and C) systems.  This course applies to commercial and military aircraft and helicopters of all categories.  It is also applicable to space vehicles, airships, and unoccupied air vehicles (UAV).   The course includes live demonstrations of equipment and system test methods and numerical simulations.

This course has been designed to give students the basic understanding and practical information required for meaningful work in this technology and to avoid common pitfalls such as misinterpretation of requirements and costly over-designs. The course has been developed by engineers currently active in the lightning protection design and certification of the world’s most advanced aerospace vehicles and systems.


Students should have experience with design of airframes, propulsion systems, electrical and avionics systems or other onboard components or systems. A degree in a related technical area is advisable but not required. Students should be conversant with design techniques and should be actively engaged in the planning, design or certification of new aircraft or components.

Instructor: Andy Plumer, Chief Engineer, and members of the NTS Pittsfield lightning laboratory staff.

Current Schedule:

Spring: April 27 – May 1, 2020
Fall: October 5 – 9, 2020

Click here to register: Lightning Protection Registration Form 2020

Course Outline

Lightning Protection of Avionics assembles the information, concepts, and techniques currently in practice for the lightning protection of sensitive aircraft equipment.  The course outlines practical methods to achieve successful protection based upon the experience of the engineering staff of NTS/Lightning Technologies and the aircraft industry around the world.  Particular emphasis is placed upon the certification process and verification test and analysis methods.  Successful protection design and certification of avionics and control system installations can be approached by following certain common steps regardless of the particular airframe or equipment.  This process forms the main body of the course, as follows:

Identify Systems Performing Functions Required for Safe Flight

The role of the aircraft and system-level safety assessments in categorizing functions and systems is taught, as well as the certification processes applicable to each category.  The compliance processes for each category as described in the FAA advisory circular is explained.

Determine Lightning Interaction with Wiring

The physics of coupling of induced transients into interconnecting wiring is explained so that students are enabled to make sense of the sometimes-confusing equipment test standards, and make correct selections of applicable voltage and current waveforms and levels for compliance demonstration.

Establish Actual Transient Levels (ATL)

The basic physics principles and formulae for computing actual transient levels are taught, with examples.  The ATLs appear at the wiring interfaces with equipment.  Both numerical simulation and aircraft or subassembly testing methods are taught, with examples.

Establish Equipment Transient Design Levels (ETDLs)

This is the process for selecting and negotiating acceptable test levels between aircraft manufacturers and equipment suppliers.  These are the voltages and currents that the equipment is required to tolerate without damage or upset.


The role of the margin and the process of establishing the margin between the ATLs and ETDLs to assure sufficient ability for equipment to withstand damage and upset from lightning indirect effects are taught.

Protection Design

Essential to successful design is the assurance that ATLs in wiring are lower than ETDLs by the specified margin.  The basic protection techniques described with references to examples are improved bonding, shielding, circuit-wiring type selection, terminal protection, isolation, protection devices, circuit-damage tolerance, and software techniques.


Equipment and integrated system test methods, applicable standards, analysis or design similarity with existing systems and installations must provide proof that the above steps provide adequate protection to assure safe flight and compliance with the applicable civil and military regulations.

Students Receive our 560-page textbook Lightning Protection of Aircraft and the Course Notebook.  After a brief review of the natural lightning environment, this course utilizes Chapters 9 through 18 of the textbook.


October 5 @ 8:00 am
October 9 @ 12:00 pm
Event Category:


NTS Pittsfield
10 Downing Industrial Parkway
Pittsfield, MA 01201-3890 United States
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