On average, every commercial aircraft is struck by lightning more than once a year. When this happens, an aircraft lightning strike inspection is required upon landing regardless of the lightning protection system. Thus, the aircraft is grounded and thoroughly inspected for damage, as it may present pits and burn marks. Although regular, lightning strikes are often unexpected and bring unwelcome costs. It’s time we face the facts about the current aircraft lightning strike inspection.
Aircraft lightning strike inspection
What happens when an aircraft is struck by lightning?
Aircraft are prepared to withstand lightning strikes, as in most of the cases, the occurrence is self-triggered while flying through the clouds. Lightning strikes the aircraft at one extremity, passes through a section of its fuselage, and exits at another. When an aircraft is struck by lightning, the first step upon landing is to undergo a thorough inspection for damage to guarantee its airworthiness. It is a laborious and time-consuming process that takes many resources (personnel, time, money) to complete.
Before the next flight, the aircraft, independently of its type, is towed to a hangar and thoroughly inspected by aircraft engineers. Today, aircraft lightning strike inspection requires 2 to 3 aircraft engineers, operating heavy equipment such as gangways and cherry-pickers while looking for damages sometimes as small as a pencil tip. It also means that the aircraft remains unnecessarily grounded from 8 to 12 hours before deciding on its further operation. There is also a lot of pressure on working fast to avoid flight delays or cancellations, which can cost airlines more $ 2 billion per year.
How we can simplify aircraft lightning strike inspection with a drone
Aiming to enable timely damage assessment, we provide a solution that cuts the aircraft lightning strike inspection time by 75%. These are the cost savings we pass on to you: while ground time becomes more predictable, fewer aircraft engineers perform the inspection, minimizing both safety risks to personnel and damage risks to the aircraft. Besides, you can start leveraging high data quality and accuracy on the aircraft status, increasing its availability.