Risks of Lightning

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bj225
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Risks of Lightning

Postby bj225 » Thu Aug 24 2017, 11:17

With Summer fast approaching, theres sure to be some big storms rolling through soon.
Im only new to aviation and fly a R22 and R44 and found myself out and about with some lightning today.
It got me thinking what are the chances of it hitting a chopper, what would happen if it did and what was others personal limits around lightning.
I know big commercial jets are designed to be struck but not sure how much design work frank robinson put into it.
pop;
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Billy Hill
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby Billy Hill » Thu Aug 24 2017, 20:16

Lightning = storms. Stay the hell away in a Robbie.
Then you won't get hit. Or hit the ground.
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muppet
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby muppet » Thu Aug 24 2017, 20:58

Ok, I am going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that Boeing builds its passenger jets to a slightly higher specification than Uncle Frank. And having seen pictures of what lightning can do to airliners, I would also recommend staying away from the big flashy stuff. Those bolts may look cool, but they generate enormous amounts of energy and heat. I usually get the hades away or on the ground when I see flashes.
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havick
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby havick » Thu Aug 24 2017, 21:05

muppet wrote:Ok, I am going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that Boeing builds its passenger jets to a slightly higher specification than Uncle Frank. And having seen pictures of what lightning can do to airliners, I would also recommend staying away from the big flashy stuff. Those bolts may look cool, but they generate enormous amounts of energy and heat. I usually get the hades away or on the ground when I see flashes.


Pretty much all airlines have a requirement to avoid thunderstorms by 20nm's or some variation thereof even though the aircraft can generally take a lightning bolt.

I got hit by lighting the other month going into Norfolk VA (USA) and it fried all our comms and affected the fadecs etc in an Embraer 145. American Airlines had to get a special ferry permit for us to then fly it VFR the following day to the maintenance hangar.
"You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel."
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Twistgrip
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby Twistgrip » Thu Aug 24 2017, 21:58

Havic,
That would be great fun flying a little jet around VFR!. Out of interest whats the max altitude that they let you fly around VFR over there? Is it still 18k or has it changed?.
"You can watch things happen, you can make things happen or you can wonder what happened"
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havick
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby havick » Thu Aug 24 2017, 23:21

Twistgrip wrote:Havic,
That would be great fun flying a little jet around VFR!. Out of interest whats the max altitude that they let you fly around VFR over there? Is it still 18k or has it changed?.


The embraer 145 is 50 passenger seats, so smaller than an Airbus but slightly bigger than a fly.

Due to the U/S equipment that fell outside of the MEL we were operationally restricted to 10,000'

18K is where Class A starts in the USA. That being said it's not unusual at times to be IFR routed low (8000') from say LGA or JFK down to Norfolk or Richmond due to airway congestion, which keeps you really looking out for bugsmashers at 250kts.

When I ferried a B212 from Calgary in Canada down to Clovis, New Mexico there were times where cruising VFR at 14-15k wasn't unusual at all.
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Skid Marks
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby Skid Marks » Fri Aug 25 2017, 00:34

Getting hit by lightning would be the least of my worries. I'd be far more concerned about the associated turbulence within a larger-than-some-realise radius of the CB's/TS's, especially in an R22/R44.

I should emphasise that I'm not a Robbie basher - I part own a 22 and happily strap both models to my back several times most weeks. But if we NZ Robbie drivers weren't 'turbulence aware' then it'd mean that we'd not been paying attention to the recent RSAT push. Don't know if the same training is getting pushed in Aust?
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby bigglesbutler » Fri Aug 25 2017, 02:03

Many years ago in a galaxy (country) far far away, a junior FO (me) was told to go start up the venerable S61 as we had to go rescue a Bristow Tiger (AS332L). Said 332 was happily flying home from offshore the previous day when it got hit by lightning, the strike entered on one main blade and exited out the stinger under the tail. By chance they were a few miles from a platform so they landed, asking permission afterwards, and stopped for the night. By the time we arrived the next day in the 61 the blades had been removed and the 332 craned off the heli deck. We then loaded the four main blades through the rear emergency door and transported them home for inspection, the airframe came home on a barge.

Whats the point of telling this story? Put your hands together palm against palm, spread your fingers and that will give you a rough idea of what the carbon fibre blade tip looked like on the struck blade. Carbon fibre strands pointing everywhere and no glue left between them. The hole in the stinger was the size of a 50 pence (AU 50 cent) piece and the transmission was binned.

When commercial helicopter flights avoid build up on a radar by minimum 15nm then there is generally good reason, for smaller aircraft without said protection I would suggest watching the weather go by with your choice of non-alcoholic beverage in hand. You life is too precious to "give it a go" or push on, if you are airborne just land and make yourself safe then worry about permission. You are likely to get a bollocking for getting caught out but by landing and making yourself safe you are showing good judgement, better judgement is staying on the ground with that drink in the first place.

Si :D
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Eric Hunt
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Re: Risks of Lightning

Postby Eric Hunt » Fri Aug 25 2017, 04:42

There are stories of lightning passing through a transmission, and spot-welding the gears together, to be instantly broken apart by the forces on the gears. But the gear is now mis-shapen and there might be bits broken off the gear and floating around. No wonder they tossed it out.

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