Home / NASA: Lightening Strike Research 80-86 [15]

NASA 816 (F-106B 57-2516) was used for research at the NASA hanger and associated with the Storm Hazards Program, which ran from 1980-1986 during 1496 thunderstorm penetrations and 714 direct strikes. This program was designed to provide data from in-flight measurements of direct-strike lightning characteristics to determine the threat to aircraft constructed of composite materials and utilizing digital control systems. The program also provided data on the location and strength of storms. The NASA 816 conducted 195 research flights, receiving 714 direct lightening strikes. See a video on the airborne lightning research which includes flight footage. The Storm Hazards Program produced the following key results (see full report.
1. Identified regions with the highest probability for an aircraft to experience a direct lightening strike.
2. Identified the typical intensity of these strikes.
3. Identified the relationship of lightening, hazardous precipitation, and turbulence.
4, Determined that airborne lightening location devices may not provide a reliable indication of the potential for triggered lightening.
5. The entire surface of the F106 may be susceptible to direct or swept lightening.