Aircraft - Lightning Protection

Lightning Protection of Aircraft is a four-and-one-half day course to familiarize aircraft and system or equipment design engineers with the interaction of lightning and static electricity with advanced technology aircraft. The course begins by bringing the student up-to-date with the fundamentals of lightning and static electrification of aircraft and their effects on structures and systems. This is followed by a thorough review of applicable regulations and standards. Students will learn the basic approaches and techniques of protection design and certification for both new aircraft and for modifications and upgrades. Particular emphasis is placed on the efficient preparation of certification and verification test plans.

This course has been designed to give students the practical information and basic understanding required for meaningful work in this technology and to avoid common pitfalls such as misinterpretation of requirements and costly overdesigns. 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 on-board 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.

For registration form and schedule, click below.

Course Outline

Natural Lightning

  • Cloud Formation and Electrification
  • Formation of the Cloud-to-Earth Lightning Flash
  • Intracloud Flashes and Other Types of Lightning Flashes
  • Frequency of Occurrence
  • Electrical Characteristics of Lightning Flash Currents

Lightning Interaction with Aircraft

  • Lightning Attachment Process
  • Aircraft Initiated Lightning
  • Swept Leaders and Swept Stroke Locations
  • Zone Location Methods
  • Strike Attachment Scenarios
  • Implications of the Strike Attachment Process to Protection

Design and Testing

  • Statistics of Lightning Strike Encounters
  • Accidents, Incidents and Lessons Learned

Lightning Effects on Aircraft

  • Metallic Structures
  • Nonmetallic Structures
  • Fuel Systems and Propulsion Systems
  • Electrical/Electronic Systems
  • Other Systems
  • Personnel

Lightning Test Criteria and Standards

  • U.S. FAA and European JAA Lightning Protection Regulations
  • Advisory Circulars Pertaining to Lightning Protection
  • U.S. DoD Requirements and Standards
    • MIL-STD-1757
    • MIL-STD-1795
  • SAE, RTCA and EUROCAE Reports and Test Standards
    • DO-160/ED14 Section 22 (Indirect Effects)
    • DO-160/ED14 Section 23 (Direct Effects)
  • Forthcoming New and Updated Requirements and Advisory Circulars

Basic Steps in Lightning Protection Design and Certification

  • Location of the Lightning Strike Zones
  • Establishment of the Lightning Environment
  • Establishment of Protection and Pass/Fail Criteria
  • Establishment of Transient Control Levels (TCLs) and Equipment Transient Design Levels (ETDLs)
  • Design of Lightning Protection
  • Verification of Protection Adequacy
  • Documentation
  • Preparing a Certification Plan

Test Methods

  • Direct Effects on Structures and Fuel Systems
  • Indirect Effects on Electrical and Avionics Systems

Static Electrification and Protection

  • Static Charging Mechanisms
  • Precipitation Static (P-Static) Corona Discharges and Coupling Processes
  • Physical Damage Mechanisms
  • In-flight Measurements
  • Protection Methods; Static Discharges and Antistatic Treatments
  • Protection Verification Methods
  • Electrical Resistivity Measurements
  • Static Charge Testing

Unique Design Problems and Solutions

  • Modifications and Upgrades
  • Advanced Composite Structures
  • High Authority Electronic Systems
  • Very Light Aircraft

Organization and Management of Successful Lightning Protection Design and Certification Programs

Recent Research Programs

Laboratory Demonstrations of Simulated Lightning Testing

  • Direct and Indirect Effects
  • Testing Methods and Equipment
  • Static Electrification