Russia’s state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has announced that the MC-21 single-aisle airliner has cleared lightning tests.
“A complex of tests on the impact of lightning on the elements of the empennage and wing of the MC-21 aircraft, made from domestic composite materials, has been completed,” UAC said in an official statement on October 14.
Lightning often hits protruding parts of an aircraft’s fuselage or wing, causing damage. When a lightning strike moves along an airplane, it can cause “swept stroke” damage. It can also damage composite airplane structures if protection finish is not applied, properly designed, or adequate. This damage is often in the form of burnt paint, damaged fiber, and composite layer removal.
Most aircraft skins consist primarily of aluminum, which conducts electricity very well. In order to avoid serious damage, aircraft manufacturers add a metallic mesh, sandwiched between the composite material and the paint.
UAC added that the tests were carried out as part of obtaining approval of the main change to the MC-21 type certificate. During the tests, materials were obtained for the issuance of evidentiary documentation confirming the compliance of the wing and tail made of domestic materials with all the requirements of aviation regulations in terms of lightning protection.