Evading in-flight lightning strikes

MIT News  March 8, 2018 When a plane flies through an ambient electric field, its external electrical state shifts. As an external electric field polarizes the aircraft it can set off a highly conductive flow of plasma, called a positive leader — the preceding stage to a lightning strike. Researchers at MIT propose temporarily charging a plane to a negative level to dampen the more highly charged positive end, thus preventing that end from reaching a critical level and initiating a lightning strike. They envision outfitting a plane with an automated control system consisting of sensors and actuators fitted with […]