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REFLECTOR: Some Canard-Aviator Lightning Posts

	Make's ya think Ben Franklin with his key in the bottle was pretty darn
--Jeff Barnes
XL-RG N411JB a-buildin

7/26/98 from GLHansen@aol.com regarding Dick Kriedel's strike(no

Dick, and All:

You can read the full account of Dick's encounter in a reprint from
Canard Pusher 53, now posted at the EZ Squadron site at
http://www.ez.org.  It's in the "Canard Pusher Reprints" section in the
"Adventure" category, entitled "Lightning Strike on a Long-EZ".

Best regards,
Jerry Hansen
10/27/98 from Dick Kriedel<longez@concentric.net> "un-EZ IFR".....>>>>
[The Canard Aviators's Mailing list]

To all of you who seem to want more info on why I am not a big proponent
of hard IFR in a Long, Varieze, Berkut or perhaps a Cozy, here goes:

Fist, I am a mid-time pilot (3,500 hours) with all of my time in light
aircraft.  I fly for fun, personal transportation and occasionally for
business. I now only fly EZ's and have about 2,500 hours in type, about
150 of those are in actual IMC. I live in SoCal so the persistent
coastal stratus caused me to become IFR rated.  The Long I usually fly
has gyros, 2 VOR receivers, one GPS, GS/MKR and 2 coms - pretty well
equipped.  The other Long I fly has all of the previously mentioned
stuff plus a slaved HSI, ADF, dual GS, single axis autopilot, etc. 

I fly about 150-200 hours per year and barely maintain IFR competency
(I'm talking about real competency, not the FAA's minimalistic stds.)
So, I'm just a regular guy, who probably like you, thinks the world of
the EZ type aircraft and that the plane has such high performance that
the utility would be diminished without IFR capability. The very wide
performance spectrum of these aircraft is exactly what makes them a
conundrum: extremely high performance and some very real shortcomings
that are part and parcel to the package.  

The narrow tandem cockpit demands almost perfect (nah, make it perfect)
planning of enroute charts, approach plates, Jepps book, writing
equipment, flashlight, etc, etc. These planes have neutral roll
stability and pretty good pitch stability with the GU canard, less so
with the Roncz/MS1145. The Navaid Devices wing levelers/single axis auto
pilots do a fair job of tracking a Nav, but I find them unsatisfactory
for most IMC work.  The clever folks who have STEC 55's in their EZ's
don't have any issues here. Those w/o a minimal wigleveler will really
sweat flying in actual bumpy, wet clouds, juggling charts, ATC, and
other distractions. 

Hand flying a C182 takes about 30% of my attention to fly the plane,
with the other 70% available to talk, situational awareness, plan,
navigate, look at charts, etc.  With my long the percentages are the
same, except it takes 70% of my ability to keep the plane on heading,
altitude, navigate, etc.  Now, like I said., I'm just a private pilot
who doesn't fly professionally, who doesn't have military and high
performance time.  It may be  EZ to blow this dissertation off as one
guy who isn't really competent to fly hard IMC conditions.  But lots of
very experienced pilots, including Mike Melvill (SCALED VP & GM), Doug
Shane (SCALED VP & SETP Test pilot of the Year in 1997), Vance Atkinson,
and a host of others don't intentionally fly their EZ's in other that
basic in and out approaches and departures in benign weather. I think it
is very telling that the highly experienced pilots of high performance
aircraft (not me!) who participate in this forum are the ones who
caution people about the inappropriateness of hard IFR in toy, albeit
high performance, planes like ours. 

ICE: it's a big deal!! I know, I've had it on the EZ more times than I
care to think about. You haven't experienced "pucker" until you've had
ice shed from the nose and go back and hit the propeller. 

I wish someone would have talked to me like this before I sailed off
hard IFR about 10 years ago after getting a very favorable briefing by
the FSS, and 20 minutes later getting struck by lightning at 14,000 in
icing conditions. Static buildup and discharge on plastic planes is very
common and you will almost certainly lose communication capabilities
until the charge dissipates or ??? This usually occurs at the very worst
time, black clouds, ice, amended clearance that you almost can hear,
etc. I've had St. Elmo's fire in the cockpit of my Long, so much ice on
the vortilons they looked like rockets, canopy iced over on low ILS's. 
You name it, I've done it wrong. So don't just listen to me, ask some
really experienced professional pilots, or active/ex military guys, and
see what they do with their birds. Part of the problem is the
configuration, part is the ability to get yourself in a heap o'trouble
really quickly, and part is systems related. 

By, the way, I routinely fly my normally aspirated O-320 Long at
FL220/230 to stay out of the clouds - but you have to get up there and
you gotta' come down.  My flight from Palo Alto on Saturday reminded me
of how fickle and unpredictable Mother Nature can be.  Got to go now and
wash out Saturday's shorts.

Dick Kreidel
10/23/98 from Bulient Aliev<atlasyts@bellsouth.net>"Lightning @ carbon

[The Canard Aviators's Mailing list]

I would like to share few actual cases of carbon fiber composites,
struck by lightening. The last one was tonight on the evening TV news. 
Middle aged lady was golfing in FL during approaching thunder storm and
got hit by lightening. She survived with about 70% permanent loss of
hearing, burns etc. The golf club made of carbon fiber exploded and
looks like she was holding horse tail in her hand, with the rubber
handle intact.

Two years ago a large racing fiberglass sailboat was built with carbon
fiber stringers for stiffness. Year late was hit by lightning and the
hull survived, except the stringers also exploded and looked like the
golf club I saw on the news.

I know few more cases identical to the ones above. So when I read about
builders that are tempted all the time to sneak few carbon fiber lay ups
here and there in their airplanes, I wander if it is worth the risk?

[MY NOTES... Golfer w or w/o graphite clubs shouldn't be out in
lightning..sometimes it's the golfer that explodes...Sailboat..tallest
thing around?]
7/24/98 Ann McMahon<anniemac@iamerica.net> IN-AIR event response to
Steve Willhoite ON-GROUND event

[The Canard Aviators's Mailing list]
Mr. Willhoite-

I had a very similar experience in my Long.  I was totally IFR in light
precip with no turbulance and no visible lightning, when the hair on my
arms began to stand up. When I touched the instrument panel metal face
plate it was like touching the bottom on a lamp that is not properly
grounded - you get the fuzzy feeling on your finger tips.

I waited for 30-seconds and finally pressed the intercom switch to ask
my passenger if he were experiencing the same sensations.  He was not. 
In the next instant, the intercom and the transmission side of the comm
went out, leaving the receiver and the transponder and the GPS (all in
the same stack) working.

ATC caught on fairly quickly and I completed my IFR flight plan as filed
using the transponder to acknowledge receipt of requests by ATC.

After this episode, I did a lot of weather research and found out a
couple of interesting facts I did not know. One, a mass like an airplane
moving through precip in which there is no lighting can cause electrical
buildup just with the friction produced by the passing of its body
through the precipitation.  Two, metal airplanes experience something
very similar called St. Elmo's Fire - which is not always visible
apparently - and this is dissipated off a metal airplane with trailing
"whiskers" off the wings that allow the charge to bleed off the skin of
the aircraft.

A plastic airplane can not bleed off this charge easily because most of
the metal in which the charge accumulates is around the instrument panel
and in the cockpit.  So, if lighting struck anywhere near your airplane
it is quite possible some of the charged surrounding air jumped to metal
parts of your craft.

A direct lighting hit on a composite aircraft literally blows a hole in
the plane of blows up the aircraft depending on where and how it hits. 
For this reason, NASA and one of the composite kit manufacturers
experimented with a metal mesh skin in the fiberglass skin.  This did
the trick, but the plane ended up weighing a ton, as a result.  

At 06:26 PM 7/23/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Has anyone else experienced problems with losing avionics during
>exposure to lightning storms while parked outside on the ground?  Do
>metal airplanes protect their avionics better than glass ones due to a
>faraday cage effect?
Ann McMahon                     Professional Publications Services, Inc.
anniemac@iamerica.net           1646 Belmont Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 
504-346-0707                    "Integrating Technology for Information
7/23/98 Steven Willhoite<swillhoite@csi.com>"Lighning Susceptibility on
the Ground"...>>>

[The Canard Aviators's Mailing list]
After the passing of a thunderstorm with large amounts of lightning, I
discovered that the ICOM IC-A200 Panel Mount Radio and the Softcom
Intercom in my Long Ez were "partially" damaged.  The radio would
receive, but no longer transmit and the intercom behaves as if the PTT
is always activated.

The Long Ez was tied down outside during the storm (hangars are
$300/month in Santa Fe) but did not appear to take a direct hit.  I
suspect that the lightning strike was close, but not direct.

In the many years I flew a Cessna prior to moving up to the Long Ez I
never had a failure of this type even though the Cessna was also tied
down outside.

Has anyone else experienced problems with losing avionics during
exposure to lightning storms while parked outside on the ground?  Do
metal airplanes protect their avionics better than glass ones due to a
faraday cage effect?