Lightning vs. Glider

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  2. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  3. brcase

    brcase Cleared for Takeoff

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    About the same time there was another one in the US. it was a single place glider and blew out the canopy and monetarily fused all the rod ends and burnt all the ground wires. The pilot was able to break the controls free and fly back the airport, however the controls were grinding pretty badly as from all the burn marks on the bearings.

    There was an article the SSA magazine by the pilot, I was working for a glider repair shop at the time and saw the glider come up for salvage. It was essentially undamaged except for the canopy, control bearing, and some concern about what it might have done to the carbon fiber main spar.

    Brian
     
  4. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    I suppose gliders are having trouble because they are composite and don't have a lightning protection system?
     
  5. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Not just gliders, no composite EAB that I know of has any significant lightning protection built in. I know Glasair had a lightning protected variant that NASA tested but that's the only one I know of. I get hit in my Velocity, I could be flying through the air with just a stick in my hand! :D I've heard more than one person say they went with Vans over composite for that reason.

    Even the DA-20 is approved for only VMC because of lack of lightning protection.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  6. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Just wondering, wouldn't lightning be more probable outside clouds (hence likely VMC) than inside?
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Oh I don't know about the probability of it outside vs inside. I suppose its just as susceptible outside. I think they were concerned about static buildup within the clouds as well. It's completely equipped IAW Part 91.205, it just doesn't have the lightning / static protection required by Part 23 so it has a big placard for VFR only in the cockpit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  8. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Are you aware of any studies that show more static buildup on airplanes inside rather than outside clouds (given a convective environment)?
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Nope, none that I know of.
     
  10. Jim Case

    Jim Case Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Jeez! Thank god they are alive. That's too bad about his hearing though. Were they aware of possible lighting when it happened? I don't have time to read the whole thing right now.
     
  11. 3393RP

    3393RP Cleared for Takeoff

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    Am I correct in assuming the writer had no pilot training? It appears that way.

    I think it's pretty amazing he had the presence of mind to unfasten the belts, get clear of the aircraft, and pull the D-ring.

    About fifteen years ago I took a ride in a PT-17 flown by the Red Baron pizza sponsored quartet of Stearmans. We were going to do some mild aerobatics. The pilot briefed the procedure for exiting the aircraft and deploying the chute. It was a seat pack style.

    The people taken up for rides were generally employees of distributors or retailers of the product. I kinda laughed while the pilot was going over the emergency procedures. I was imagining a non pilot Kroger manager taking his first open cockpit airplane ride saying "What the hell do you mean 'leave the aircraft?'" :p:D
     
  12. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I asked one of our most experienced glider club pilots about his parachute, "Ever done a skydiving jump, just once, for practice?"

    "Nope, I figure whether or not I practice, it's either going to open or it isn't."
     
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  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    I always figured if we had to get out, I'd have to crawl out on the wing, unstrap the passenger, lift him out of the cockpit and throw him clear while holding onto his D-ring before I could jump myself...a downright scary percentage couldn't figure out how to unbuckle the seatbelt after the ride.
     
  14. vontresc

    vontresc En-Route

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    I've talked to a few glider pilots that have bailed (usually after midairs in contests). Everyone pretty much had the same story. Big bang followed by a WTF moment, and a realization that the AC was uncontrollable. Then they usually mention not remembering much until under canopy, but that the desire to GTFO became overwhelming.

    If you do wear a chute, it is recommended to pop it before getting it repacked. Remember Canopy, Belts, Butt, and then look reach and pull the handle with both hands
     
  15. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    For some reason that never crossed my mind when looking at Glasairs and other composites. No idea why they would not include lightning protection on those aircraft. I don't think I would want to own an IFR traveling airplane that could have a major structural failure if hit by lightning.
     
  16. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I've read about some builders modifying their aircraft with an aluminum layer / mesh in the building process but that definitely isn't the norm. That's also based on being able to build the skin by hand. A lot of quick builds have the fuse and wing skins complete with no measures taken at the factory for lightning protection.

    What happens when you fly a composite without a Faraday cage designed into it:

    http://v2.ez.org/cp53-p10.htm
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  17. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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  18. GlennAB1

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    Used to maintain a fleet of Gulfstream 1 (G159) aircraft. Had one aircraft with a lengthy history of static in radios, reported as radios unusable in clouds, precipitation, and freezing precip. Ended up being the radome bonding points insulated by RTV.
     
  19. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    That could easily have been the overall convective environment, i.e. the regions inbetween clouds, where I would definitely expect static buildup, could have caused those problems (as they do in most aircraft without proper anti-static protection).
    The specific question I asked was whether there were studies showing static buildup inside the cloud, as opposed to on the edges and inbetween clouds.
     
  20. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 En-Route

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    RIF
     
  21. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 En-Route

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  22. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 En-Route

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    And fyi, lightning has been wreaking havoc on airliners lately. We're in the process of changing a badly damaged rudder on an almost brand new 767.
     
  23. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  24. Hi I am the passenger that was in the glider mentioned earlier that was destroyed by lightning back in April 1999. Amazed to see it still being talked about. There were a few reconstructions of the accident which are on Youtube. See:-
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3AF92A275FBC3BDD
    or search these three words on Youtube: glider lightning parachute. Be careful up there!
    Regards Graeme
     
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  25. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pre-Flight

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    Wow! What a coincidence you dropped by, Graeme. That was quite an experience and it's great that you survived to tell the tale with only minor injuries.
     
  26. Thanks Stan, and what a great surname you have!
    My ear drums soon healed as did Peter's ankle. The day turned out to be a memorable 30th birthday present, With a glider flight and parachute jump in one day.
    I flew again with Peter 10 years later as he owed me a landing. I also did a tandem skydive earlier this year. Thinking of something less memorable for my 50th.
    Kind regards Graeme
     
  27. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hey, Graeme!

    We have a number of very seasoned glider pilots on this board, hang around a while.
     
  28. StevieTimes

    StevieTimes Line Up and Wait

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    You should have flown it home.



    I kid, I kid, holy carp what a scary experience. I've never worn a parachute in my life, what an ordeal to go through!

    Thanks for posting, was wondering about the ears healing.
     
  29. Wow their are some amazing stories of survival out there. Bit more difficult to fly with no engine and both wings missing though. Like trying to fly a kayak

    Peter the pilot and his club mate/air accident investigator Peyer Claiden give a good account of the accident from 23min in on this doccumentry and talk of the power of the positive strike which was found to be up to SIX times stronger than passenger planes are designed to withstand. SIX TIMES!
     
  30. GlennAB1

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    Currently working a 7X7 with 68 areas of varying damage from lightning. Fun, fun.
     
  31. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    First I've read anything of this story, thanks for joining us!
     
  32. scottd

    scottd Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Most lightning strikes to airborne aircraft are induced by the aircraft as I write here.
     
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