Indirect Lightning Strike Testing of Aerospace Equipment

TRaC now offer High Intensity Radiated Field (HIRF) testing in excess of RTCA-DO-160 Category L. Get a quote for HIRF Testing Today

The increasing use of composite materials in the design of the aircraft superstructure, to reduce weight, means that equipment is more vulnerable to lightning strike effects. As a result the test standards has evolved and become more stringent. For new build aircraft, ALL equipment supplied must meet Safety of Flight (SOF) criteria, which includes lightning, prior to being installed and then full qualification testing.

Indirect lightning testing

  • RTCA DO160D/E/F
  • MIL STD 461,
  • Def Stan 59-41 & 59-411,
  • Airbus(ABDO1000.1.2) 
  • Boeing (D6-16050-4/5) specific and others such as Panavia and Sikorsky.

The indirect effects are introduced via pin injection, cable bundles or ground connection tests and cover various waveform shapes and amplitudes (up to level 5). We are qualified as an independent Boeing witness for EMC and lightning strike testing.

System lightning strike test levels offered

Waveform Method Comments
1 Cable injection Single / multiple stroke
2 Cable injection Single / multiple stroke
3 Pin injection and cable injection Single / multiple stroke multiple burst (1 & 10MHz)
4 Pin injection and ground injection Single / multiple stroke
5A Pin injection and cable / ground injection Single / multiple stroke


Cable / ground injection Single / multiple stroke
6H Cable / ground injection Multiple burst

Lightning test capabilities

We can advise on lightning test methods, test levels, procedures and can also evaluate the threat to your systems and equipment to provide a cost-effective balance between analysis and testing.

  • Testing in compliance with RTCA DO160E, F and G section 22
  • Indirect strike (current and voltage) specified in DO-160E, F and G Section 22. In addition to DO-160, the generator can also meet Air framers Lightning Requirements (Boeing and Airbus)

These test standards mandate that single stroke, multiple strokes and multiple burst pulse sequences be used for induced lightning testing of avionics.

  • Single stroke
  • Multiple stroke
  • Multiple burst
  • DO-160 Section 22
  • RTCA DO-160 B through E: Environmental Conditions and Test Procedure for Airborne Equipment
  • European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE)
  • EUROCAE / ED-14 (1997): Aircraft Lightning Environment and related Test Waveforms.
  • Report of EURO CAE WG-31 and SAE Committee AE-2
  • Boeing D6-16050-5 and Airbus
  • US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Advisory Circular 20-136 (1990): Protection of Aircraft Electrical/Electronic Systems against the indirect effects of lightning.
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • ISO 7137 (2001): Aircraft—Environmental conditions and test procedures for airborne equipment.

Single stroke

Single stroke test is used for damage assessment on avionic sub-systems and equipment. They are divided into PIN injection and cable bundle tests.

Cable bundle tests may be performed using the single stroke method only or using combination of the single stroke, and multiple burst method.

Multiple stroke

Simulation of a typical lightning strike event include several high current strokes following the first return stroke.  These occur at intervals of several milliseconds that verify that your product will survive or continue to operate during and after a lightning related event involving the aircraft.

Multiple burst

The multiple burst test is designed to represent the induced effects to internal aircraft wiring in response to an external aircraft lightning strike of a multiple burst nature. The pluses are a burst of transients with random spacing, followed by several repeat bursts, which occur in the induced multiple burst sequence.