Lightning Probability

By Tim McDonald

It is sometimes important to know the probability of lightning and the probability of catastrophic failure for a given vehicle. This is especially true for programs outside of the usual FAA requirements, including space vehicles and experimental aircraft type certificate vehicle.

This is a popular request to EMA.  Please contact EMA if you have any questions about how to apply this analysis to your specific aircraft program. We can customize these results to your particular needs.

Lightning Probability: This is a tool to determine the probability of catastrophic failure for an aircraft

Contact EMA for the Probability Tool

The app shows its assumptions and references for the main data sources. As anyone who flies frequently knows, aircraft are struck reasonably frequently. It is important to establish the proper lightning requirement and concept of operations in order to meet the target safety assurance probabilities established by the program. It is not advantageous to over-design lightning protection, as the cost in mass and system capability is too great. Alternatively, under-designing lightning protection leaves systems, missions, and lives at stake. A careful, data-based probability assessment is required in order to achieve the proper balance.

This tool was developed by Electro Magnetic Applications, Inc. Before applying the results to your verification program, contact EMA for its applicability and for permission. For something this complicated, one size does not fit all, so a careful evaluation is necessary.

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