Lightning restrictions for Lightnings

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Gums

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Unread post22 Nov 2022, 17:46

Salute!

Probably had a thread about this a year or so ago, but too lazy to look back.

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/11/pen ... tware-fix/

I thot the original concern was with the electronics, as we went thru back in 1979 when we began flying many missions away from the sterile environment at Edwards and Nellis. The electric jet depended on more computers and electronics than anything built other than the Shuttle. Turned out we had lightning strikes and not always in some monster storm but at the periphery of rather innocent looking things. My wingie got hit closeby one day , route formation, and the bolt hit at front of canopy above the FLCS computers and behind radar stuff. Yeah, caution lights came on, then reset and press on. So our stuff was pretty well-designed to handle EMP, huh?

We were not worried about the fuel tanks like these new folks, but that seems to be the concern. Sheesh. We stopped being worried about blowing up when "D. Bell" had the motor send turbine disk parts thru the plane's fuel tanks and it didn't explode. Burned like hell, and 'Joe Bob' had great video of the thing trailing flames for a hundred yards. Impressive, and we all felt better about exploding in flight or even battle damage in combat. I think that was the second loss after the fuel transfer problem crash in June or early July of 1979 ( leave AAR door open and no gas from drop tanks).

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steve2267

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Unread post22 Nov 2022, 18:06

Always enjoy your reminiscences Gums.

Best Valerie could come up with was:
...

As of late January 2022, F-35 units across Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy had reported 15 lightning strikes that have caused damage to F-35s operating in midair, reported Air Force Times.

During an Aug. 3, 2021 incident, lightning hit an F-35 during flight, damaging the jet’s canopy and panels on its fuselage. The pilot was unharmed, but the Air Force categorized the event as a Class B mishap, with the estimated cost to fix the aircraft amounting between $600,000 and $2.5 million, according to the report.


Sohze... Lightnings been hit by 'bolts... but no kablooie. Not even a crash. Though one got toasted a bit. Not even a hair on a piwutt's head has been singed.

Perhaps after that 747 allegedly went kaboom(!) from a lightning strike... the JPO / Air Force / Navy etc is correct to be cautious with their expensive machines.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post22 Nov 2022, 20:02

Agree with 'the steven' - thanks GUMS. Meanwhile to add the paragraph before 'the steven' quote above:
"...Although flight restrictions remain in place — and fighter pilots avoid training in thunderstorms regardless of what aircraft they are operating — there have been cases where F-35 pilots have found themselves flying in inclement weather and were struck by lightning...."

YaY. At last somebody said it. Thank you Valerie.
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Unread post23 Nov 2022, 03:28

Valerie likes 'do overs' for sure: The F-35 Lightning II can’t fly in lightning once again 25 Jun 2020 Valerie Insinna
viewtopic.php?f=60&t=57096
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Unread post25 Nov 2022, 07:48

BOLT from PAST fifty years ago Info published by USN on LIGHTNING in Naval Aviation News Jun 1971 in 2 page PDF.
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LIGHTNING STRIKES NAN BuAero jun71 TIF PRN pp2.pdf
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Unread post25 Nov 2022, 10:11

I think it all comes down to this. Carbon based nanocomposites don't like lightning strikes. Like the carbon graphite fishing rods. A bit of a lightning magnet too.
https://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/li ... adly-combo
Lightning and graphite rods make a deadly combo
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Unread post25 Nov 2022, 16:18

Salute!

Flew the Electric Jet for 4 years and encountered lightning, St Elmo's and other electric phenomena with no problem. Even more when flying the Sluf in S. Carolina and Thailand.

The biggest thing I would be worried about in the 35 is that line of primacord or whatever along the canopy rail that blows up when ejecting. I don't know what sets it off, but would like to see what happens if a lightning bolt hit the plane at the edge of the canopy. The USMC prolly has some experience with their Beaufort Bees, as they get lottsa storms and keep flying.

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Unread post28 Nov 2022, 23:44

I don’t know the technical specifications nor the chemical properties of the explosive material in the canopy detcord (common USMC reference…there’s some other new F-35 specific acronym for it) but Harriers have been flying around in multinational use all over the world w detcord in the canopy system since the early 70s.

Gotta believe the stuff has proven to someone that it only blows up when it’s supposed to blow up. :shrug:
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Unread post29 Nov 2022, 00:38

T-45C Goshawk has DetCord also: https://i.stack.imgur.com/emUry.jpg Some good answers about 'why detcord':

https://aviation.stackexchange.com/ques ... ers-canopy
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Unread post29 Nov 2022, 01:09

From Gums link. It has taken a hit to the canopy. Their main concern seems to be the " Onboard Inert Gas Generation System, or OBIGGS." for the fuel tanks and 'additional findings', whatever they are.

"As of late January 2022, F-35 units across Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy had reported 15 lightning strikes that have caused damage to F-35s operating in midair, reported Air Force Times.

During an Aug. 3, 2021 incident, lightning hit an F-35 during flight, damaging the jet’s canopy and panels on its fuselage. The pilot was unharmed, but the Air Force categorized the event as a Class B mishap, with the estimated cost to fix the aircraft amounting between $600,000 and $2.5 million, according to the report."
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Unread post29 Nov 2022, 02:12

There are many stories about MilJet Lightning strikes. EGADs there is a story here I think about a Century Fighter especially equipped to go seek lightning strikes for research purposes. Anyway I'll attach some USN APPROACH Safety Magazine edition 'Lightning Strikes' stories. Always best to avoid storms when possible thus reducing chances of these strikes. OMG there is even an old story about LIGHTNING & the TA4G Delmar Target. I'll post that first as it is ready to go.

Six page PDF from Jan-Feb 2008 APPROACH USN Safety Magazine with LIGHTNING stories attached below. QUOTE below.
"Avoiding Thunderstorms
More than 44,000 thunderstorms occur daily over the earth, and pilots occasionally can expect to encounter one. Knowing thunderstorm characteristics and applying tested procedures will help aircrews operate more safely in the vicinity of those thunderstorms.

Most lightning strikes occur when aircraft are operating in one or more of the following conditions:
• within 8 degrees Celsius of the freezing level,
• within about 5,000 feet of the freezing level,
• in precipitation, including snow,
• in clouds, and/or
• in turbulence.

All these conditions do not have to occur for a lightning strike or an electrostatic discharge to take place.
Thunderstorms have many potential hazards. Here is a list of recommended practices to avoid the same fate as we did:
• If at all possible, avoid thunderstorms.
• Do not venture closer than 20 miles to any mature, visible storm cloud with overhanging anvils, because of the possibility of hail.
• Do not fly under thunderstorms, even if the area on the other side of the mountains can be seen. Winds that are strong enough to provide the lifting action to produce the thunderstorms also can create extreme turbulence between mountain peaks.

Thunderstorms should be avoided if at all possible:
• Fly around the storm.
• Fly over the top of the storm.

If you can’t avoid the storm then fly through its lower one-third.

When thunderstorms are isolated, they easily are circumnavigated, provided the surrounding area is clear of masking clouds.

APPROACH Jan-Feb 2008
Attachments
724SqdnIncidentReportTA4Gnew1982 ED PRNbw Forum pp4.pdf
(3.08 MiB) Downloaded 10 times
Lightning RHINOs Approach Jan-Feb 2008 pp6.pdf
(428.15 KiB) Downloaded 7 times
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Unread post29 Nov 2022, 17:08

“Their main concern seems to be the " Onboard Inert Gas Generation System, or OBIGGS." for the fuel tanks and 'additional findings', whatever they are.”

IIRC, this is now a failure of the ‘fix to the fix’ — no? The way these things go, the fix to the fix had to have a sign off from the USG ahead of funding expenditure for the effort. Would be interesting to understand what is now the path forward.
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Unread post29 Nov 2022, 17:53

quicksilver wrote:IIRC, this is now a failure of the ‘fix to the fix’ — no? The way these things go, the fix to the fix had to have a sign off from the USG ahead of funding expenditure for the effort. Would be interesting to understand what is now the path forward.


QS, are you stating the "fix to the fix" has a technical failure? Or there has been a bureaucratic snafu in that the fix to the fix never received a sign off from the USG, and/or the fix to the fix has not been funded or funding is subject to squabbling?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post29 Nov 2022, 21:30

There has been a number of lightning protection issues that have popped up since the jets were first delivered (an easy search on the internet). I was under the impression that this round of difficulty is about fixes to problems that had been discovered during inspections of some tubing in the inerting system, A models only (ref the damage in 14 of 24 jets inspected, and the belief that the ‘damage’ was occurring at some point after aircraft delivery to the operating forces).

So, whatever they decided to do ref the problem in 14 of 24, it apparently doesn’t work to someone’s satisfaction. Why? Dunno, but the JPO would have had to sign off on whatever corrective action was pursued before it was pursued.
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Unread post30 Nov 2022, 12:02

quicksilver wrote:“Their main concern seems to be the " Onboard Inert Gas Generation System, or OBIGGS." for the fuel tanks and 'additional findings', whatever they are.”

IIRC, this is now a failure of the ‘fix to the fix’ — no? The way these things go, the fix to the fix had to have a sign off from the USG ahead of funding expenditure for the effort. Would be interesting to understand what is now the path forward.


This problem is more severe on the F-35A than on the F-35B and C, which use a slightly different OBIGGS system, but the Pentagon also does not yet consider them safe to fly near or into thunderstorms.

Air Force Times: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your ... g-strikes/

The flight restriction will apply to a shrinking number of planes as the military works through the fixes. Still, the ban is expected to last through the end of 2025, or when all affected aircraft should be updated.

Lockheed has installed an improved version of OBIGGS onto all F-35As delivered since November, Seal said. For fighters that have been in use longer, crews will add on the new hardware at their local units.

“A 2022 software update will warn the pilot whenever the performance of OBIGGS is detected to be degraded,” Seal added.

November 2022: Breaking Defense https://breakingdefense.com/2022/11/pen ... tware-fix/

Air Force Times reported earlier this year that the program office could clear the fighter to begin flying within 25 miles of lightning after testing a fix for the OBIGGS system this summer. However, after assessing the hardware and software upgrades, the JPO has recommended flight restrictions remain in place, according to Chief Petty Officer Matthew Olay, an F-35 JPO spokesman.

“Due to additional findings earlier this year, this upgrade will provide an improvement, but is insufficient to lift the lightning restriction,” Olay told Breaking Defense. “Lightning restrictions will be lifted when all safety concerns are resolved or acceptably mitigated.”

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