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Lightning Strike Damages Fuselage Of American Airlines 787

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Lightning Strike Damages Fuselage Of American Airlines 787

Old 26th Feb 2023, 09:48
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Lightning Strike Damages Fuselage Of American Airlines 787

I haven't seen this reported here, but the damage to the underlying carbon fibre appears to my untrained eye to be quite significant;

Lightning strike damage to 787 Fuselage
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Old 26th Feb 2023, 09:59
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Link not working ... try this one ... https://airlive.net/this-is-how-bad-...787s-fuselage/
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Old 26th Feb 2023, 14:58
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Originally Posted by MPN11
Link not working ... try this one ... https://airlive.net/this-is-how-bad-...787s-fuselage/
Corrected original link
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Old 26th Feb 2023, 22:46
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B787 Lightning Vulnerability?

Saw a lot of lightning damage in my years but I wonder if composites hold up. I saw radomes badly damaged and fist sized holes in stabilizer tips of dural structure. Never saw extensive damage as reported on Jetstar B787 in My last year. Does the B767 have a peculiar vulnerability to lightning damage?

Simple Flying article except

Lightning Damages Fuselage Of Dallas-Bound American Airlines Boeing 787-9

An American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner needs repairs after a lightning strike significantly damaged its fuselage. A photo of the plane was shared on social media, catching the attention of nearly 200,000 people.

The incident happened Monday, February 20th, when N839AA, a 787-9, was traveling from Tokyo to Dallas/Fort Worth. The aircraft is reportedly being worked on to be restored back to operational condition.

Details of the incident
According to data from FlightAware, the aircraft was operating as American Airlines flight 60 from Tokyo Narita Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It is unclear when the plane was struck by lightning during its nearly 11-hour journey back to the US. N839AA is currently at a maintenance hangar at DFW airport as it undergoes repairs, according to social media. The aircraft was delivered to American in October 2018.

Dreamliner lightning problem?

On average, every commercial plane is struck by lightning at least once a year. According to View from the Wing, it has been over 40 years since a crash has been attributed to a lightning strike as the strong fuselage of the plane conducts electricity and generally transmits the strike out the tail.

Despite a strong and thick fuselage, the 787 reportedly has a known issue with lightning strikes. In 2019, Boeing reduced lightning protection in the wings of some 787s to reduce costs and speed up deliveries, but the company reportedly said that safety was not compromised. In May, a Jetstar 787 was grounded after sustaining extensive damage from a lightning strike.




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Old 26th Feb 2023, 22:55
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Interesting. I was on a 787 which had a bright flash and very loud bang a few years back.

I wonder if it had any damage.

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Old 27th Feb 2023, 01:36
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There is tremendous variability in lightning strike damage - not only does it depend the strength of the strike (itself massively variable), it depends on the attachment and exit points. I was on the flightdeck of a 747-8 for a flight test roughly 10 years ago when we took strike - although I nearly jumped out of my shoes when it happened, the pilots thought it was a minor strike. Problem was it attached on the nose (OK) but exited through the wing-body fairing - they needed to replace the fairing (rather expensive).
There was a case maybe 20 years ago where a 757 took a huge strike to the nose - the aircraft only suffered minor damage, but the effects of the strike incapacitated one pilot and 'affected' the other pilot - who fortunately was still able to fly the aircraft.
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Old 27th Feb 2023, 02:53
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And the production line has been shut down for the third time due to issues with the forward pressure bulkhead. The sad Shyte show that used to be the world leader in airliner design continues its spiral down the drain.

Personally I think the issue of lightning protection for composite airframes is going to be a much bigger deal for Boeing than they want to admit. Looking at the damage I am surprised that the window did not fail.
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Old 27th Feb 2023, 09:06
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The window hit was footage from an earlier event.
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Old 27th Feb 2023, 10:42
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Many years back, as the 787 was being introduced into service, I attended a seminar at BALPA HQ, Heathrow, regarding the increasing use of composites on aircraft. The eye-opener for me was what happens when carbon fibre is physically struck by something. It can leave very little evidence on the outside surface, but it can create a major mess on the inside surface.

We were shown test pieces of various composite materials ('coupons', they called them ...) that had been hit, under lab conditions, with different shaped small objects, at differing forces. Many of the coupons had barely any visible mark on the strike side, but the composite was often splayed out, and obviously weakened, on the reverse side. The problem was how to convince airfield vehicle drivers to report all collisions with aircraft, as they might consider no damage had been done, whereas their could easily be a dangerous mess on the back side of the composite skin. With metal aircraft skins, it is pretty obvious where a collision 'ding' has occurred, but not necessarily so with composites.

Admittedly, the lightning strike damage photo in one of the links earlier in this thread is utterly obvious, but I wonder what it looks like on the interior side of the aircraft skin? I suspect it is going to need a patch repair (in whatever form that takes on a composite aircraft ...) much bigger than the visible exterior hole.
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Old 27th Feb 2023, 11:05
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Originally Posted by Stuart Sutcliffe
Admittedly, the lightning strike damage photo in one of the links earlier in this thread is utterly obvious, but I wonder what it looks like on the interior side of the aircraft skin? I suspect it is going to need a patch repair (in whatever form that takes on a composite aircraft ...) much bigger than the visible exterior hole.
Very long thread on PPRuNe about the groundbreaking repair to the fire-damaged ET 787 at Heathrow, nearly 10 years ago now:

Ethiopian 787 fire at Heathrow

Well worth a read.
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Old 1st Mar 2023, 01:57
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Carbon helix...

Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Very long thread on PPRuNe about the groundbreaking repair to the fire-damaged ET 787 at Heathrow, nearly 10 years ago now: Ethiopian 787 fire at Heathrow Well worth a read.
The challenge (and benefit) in structural two phase materials is energy spread. Any given panel of composite spreads incoming energy uniformly...Damage which interrupts continuity essentially eliminates the design consideration. A penetration cannot be repaired to restore the panelís function... A repair involves adhesives, and perhaps metallic thru bolts. Of additional concern is the interruption of the copper mesh inlay, itself a design to mitigate lightning strikes. Evident in the photo is the disruption, showing a carbon fabric and resin. The time involved in mapping the damage, expressed as fracture, puncture, and delamination, is considerable. addendum... regarding the photo of the damage, more troubling than penetration of the skin is the depth of the arc into the dorsal keel. If any.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Last edited by Concours77; 10th Mar 2023 at 02:29.
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