KART 25.981 Lightning Research Program for Fastener Sparking Threshold Database Webinar

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NIAR and EMA® have completed two phases of a research program with the goal of creating an industry and FAA-endorsed compliance approach with a fastener sparking threshold database to support aircraft fuel tank lightning compliance associated with §25.981 and §25.954. This webinar will summarize efforts from two phases of the research program. Phase I focused on the development of the fastener sparking threshold database. Test articles containing single and quadruple fastened joints were collected from several major OEMs in nominal and failure mode fastener installations. Lightning current levels that produced sparking and other measured parameters were collected in NIAR’s lab. Phase II of this research program was to develop a computational electromagnetic simulation approach that could reliably determine current densities in aircraft fuel tank regions to establish appropriate specimen injection levels. EMA® developed the simulation model in EMA3D® Cable (now Ansys EMC Plus) and compared simulation results to full wing low-level lightning pulse test results performed by NIAR. The correlation between test and simulation gives high confidence in the ability of simulation to supplement and expand beyond lightning characterization by testing alone.


Cody Weber is a Principal Scientist II and Co-Owner at Electro Magnetic Applications, Inc. (EMA®) where he leads an E3 consulting and complex modeling team. The consulting team provides E3 certification support while the modeling team uses computational electromagnetics (CEM) to assess platform level aircraft EME interaction for threat evaluation or to set compliance levels. His team has developed complex models for civilian, space, military, and specialty engineering programs around the world simulating aircraft interaction, lightning, HIRF, EMP, and EMI environments.


Billy Martin is one of the world’s most renowned experts in EMC, HIRF and Lightning standards, testing, design, and certification. Billy has over 40 years of experience in the aircraft industry, most of which he has been a DER in EMC, HIRF, Lightning and other electromagnetic effects. In addition, he has been a major contributor to every major standards committee that have written the EMC standard, PED standards, HIRF and Lightning rules as well as the test procedures, such as RTCA DO-160.



Brock Milford is a HIRF and Lightning Engineer for NIAR’s Environmental Test Lab. While at NIAR, he helped develop the ignition source detection test methods NIAR uses for fuel ignition source testing. He has been responsible for NIAR’s direct effects of lightning testing since 2018. He also conducts NIAR’s full aircraft tests to determine the HIRF and Lightning test levels used to perform system tests. Brock is the DO-160 Section 23 Change Coordinator for RTCA’s SC-135 Committee. He is also a member of the SAE AE-2 Lightning Committee.


Ernie Condon is a Senior Research Engineer at Wichita State University’s National Institute of Aviation Research with 30+ years of experience in the aircraft industry in the design, certification, and testing of aircraft, including many years as a DER. He has extensive experience with HIRF and Lightning certification of carbon fiber aircraft. He has contributed to the development of industry standards, RTCA SC-135, SAE AE-4, in electrical bonding, HIRF, Lightning, and state-of-the-art analysis techniques for electromagnetic effects.

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