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Lightning Protection of Aircraft

November 29 - December 3

Lightning Protection of Aircraft


This four and one-half day course has been presented in person at Lightning Technologies in Pittsfield, Massachusetts since 1984.  They will be continued virtually via Zoom until the COVID-19 crisis has passed, when they will be resumed in person. 


Lightning Protection of Aircraft is a four-and-one-half day course to familiarize aircraft design and certification 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 aircraft interaction and the possible effects of lightning on structures and systems. This is followed by a thorough review of applicable regulations, advisory material and standards. Students will learn the basic approaches and techniques of protection design and certification for both new aircraft and for modifications and upgrades, and the certification process. This course applies to commercial and military aircraft and helicopters of all categories. Major emphasis of the course is on protection of conventional and composite structures and fuel systems. An introduction to protection of electrical and avionic systems is also provided.

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 design oversights, misinterpretation of requirements, standards and costly mistakes. 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 interested solely in electrical/avionics topics may take only the “Avionics” course and are not required to take the “Aircraft” course beforehand. Likewise, those who are involved more in the whole aircraft situation may find that there is sufficient coverage of avionics issues in this course so that they may not need to take both courses.  There is about a 10% overlap.



Students should have experience with some of the following: 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.

Instructor: Andy Plumer, Chief Engineer, NTS Pittsfield


Current Schedule:

November 29-3, 2021

Deadline to register is November 12, 2021

The course times will be determined by the time zones that the students are in.


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 Channel Mechanisms
  • Lightning Strike Zone Location Methods
  • Statistics of Lightning Strike Encounters
  • Accidents, Incidents and Lessons Learned
  • Strike Attachment Scenarios
  • Implications of the Strike Attachment Process to Protection

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 EASA Lightning Protection Regulations
  • Advisory Circulars Pertaining to Lightning Protection
  • U.S. DoD Requirements and Standards
    • MIL-STD-461
    • MIL-STD-464
  • SAE, RTCA and EUROCAE Environment and Test Standards
    • SAE ARP 5416 Aircraft Lightning Test Methods
    • DO-160/ED14 Section 22 (Indirect Effects)
    • DO-160/ED14 Section 23 (Direct Effects)

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
  • Static Discharges and Antistatic Treatments
  • Protection Verification Methods
  • Electrical Resistivity Measurements

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

Laboratory Demonstrations of Simulated Lightning Testing

  • Direct and Indirect Effects Testing Methods and Equipment



The tuition for each virtual course is $1,800 USD (not including credit card transaction fees).  This price includes a 560-page textbook Lightning Protection of Aircraft and the Course Notebook, which will be shipped to each student upon registration and payment of the course tuition.

Register by submitting the form below. Please note that your shipping address is needed in order for us to ship your class supplies. An NTS representative will reach out to you shortly regarding your payment.

Deadline to register is November 12, 2021


November 29
December 3
Event Category:

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