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Aircraft and Rocket Triggered Natural Lightning Discharges
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published February 01, 1970 by SAE International in United States
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Electrostatic field measurements in thunderstorms were obtained from the “Roughrider” F-100F aircraft, and from above storms with a U-2 aircraft. Analysis of data associated with lightning strikes to or near the aircraft indicates that most of the strikes occurred in a transition zone from positive over negative charge to the reverse as indicated by the vertical electric field component and that they occurred in or on the edge of an intense negative space charge concentration at flight level. These transition zones and charge centers are closely linked to the precipitation and draft structure in the cloud. Data taken at cloud base and on the surface has also been used to indicate conditions for rocket-triggered lightning. Small wire-pulling rockets fired by LTRI were successful in triggering strokes at an altitude of several hundred feet when the over-water storm field was about 200 v/cm. The Apollo 12 vehicle triggered strokes at 6400 ft when the surface field was about 35 v/cm. Post-flight analysis of data obtained at Cape Kennedy and Patrick AFB indicates two or three natural intra-or inter-cloud lightning events had occurred within 30 km of the Cape in the 25 minute period prior to launch.
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CitationFitzgerald, D., "Aircraft and Rocket Triggered Natural Lightning Discharges," SAE Technical Paper 700913, 1970, https://doi.org/10.4271/700913.
- Petterson B. J. Wood W. R. “Measurements of Lightning Strikes to Aircraft.” Final Report to Federal Aviation Agency under Contracts FA65WA1-94 and FA66NF-AP-12 January 1968
- Fitzgerald D. R. “USAF Flight Lightning Research” Proceedings, Lightning and Static Electricity Conference 3-5 December 1968 Technical Report AFAL-TR-68-290 123 134 May 1969
- Fitzgerald D. R. “Probable Aircraft Triggering of Lightning in Certain Thunderstorms.” Monthly Weather Review 95 December 1967 835 842