Overview of Lightning Hazards to Aircraft


Pierre Laroche

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Since its early age, civil and military aviation had to face atmospheric events of unexpected dangerousness. At that time, lightning was certainly the most unrecognized and misunderstood atmospheric hazard to aviation. How and where an aircraft is struck by lightning, what the expected consequences for flight safety are and what damages could be anticipated, were still open questions at the very beginning of the 1980s. Up until this period, lightning safety on aircraft was ensured by oversized metallic protection and by considering the greatest lightning threat known. At the edge of the modern age of aviation, for which performances and safety were about to become of paramount importance, this approach was no longer valid. Awareness of the need for an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the entire physical aspect of the interaction between lightning and aircraft arose at that time. The twelve articles gathered in this special issue are aimed at addressing the entire aspect of the interaction between aircraft, launchers and lightning,
from the state of the art on storm electrification and lightning phenomenology, up to the advance lightning zoning method on aircraft and the electromagnetic topology of the threat.