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Old 12-16-2002, 01:33 AM   #15
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This thread never was answered convincingly for me, so I wrote to the National Lightning Safety Institute and finally recieved the following reply. I included a pretty good description of Airstream design. Although I would have preferred more depth, I think the answer is well worth noting.
(BTW KenSmiley's 2nd.answer above was very much similar.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quote:
From: "NLSI - Richard Kithil" <rkithil@lightningsafety.com> |
Regarding: Airstreams and Lightning
Sat, 7 Dec 2002

Thin-skinned objects such as Airstreams are
NOT safe from lightning. Indirect (nearby)
strikes may couple/attach to conductors
on the ground into the trailer. Direct strikes
will be dangerous to people touching any
conductors inside or outside the Airstream.

Having said the above, the Airstream interior
likely will be safer than being outside on the
ground. Inside, at least, there is some Faraday-
like shielding available. While inside them
during close-in lightning, avoid touching any
conductors such metal and electrical objects.


National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI)
Richard Kithil Jr., Founder & CEO
891 Hoover Ave., Louisville CO 80027

Email: rkithil@lightningsafety.com
Web: www.lightningsafety.com
---------------------------------------------------------
A non-profit, non-product organization
providing objective information about
Mitigation of the Lightning Hazard.
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Old 12-16-2002, 08:35 AM   #16
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Pretty low risk, IMHO

It's all relative. Experimental data is usually the best approach when the sample is large and the variables are many. Here we have a very large sample ... thousands of Airstreams, dozens of years, thousands of storms, thousands of locations ..

Now, how many Airstreams can you count that have been destroyed or even damaged by lightning? How many persons can you count that were killed or injured in lightning storms while in Airstreams?

Not many and probably not any. Than would indicate an almost vanishingly small risk. Not zero, by any means, but less than, say comeone crossing the centerline and running into you (I have personally observed that numerous times).

Conclusion, I'll stay in the A/S and not worry about it. In the scale of life's risks, this is a very small one.

Are we safe in our home? Not totally. As a boy, we had a big blue ball of plasma float around our living room for seconds and our telephone literally explode in front of us.
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Old 12-16-2002, 08:48 AM   #17
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A bigger risk

A much larger risk is being in a sailboat with a 25' aluminum mast overhead. Most boats, as they are delivered, have no lightning grounding. I grounded my mast to two copper plates by the keel and had no problems.

Some years ago, I had just came in second in a sailboat race. There was a storm nearby, but not overhead. I was standing on the dock congratulating the winner when I put my hand on the boom of his boat to steady myself against the heaving dock. Lightning picked that moment to strike a boat moored several hundred feet out into the water.

I happened to be looking down at the moment and saw a fat blue spark from my ankle to a cleat on the dock. It seemed like I watched that spark for a long time, but it was probably just a fraction of a second before I was thrown violently about 10 feet down the dock. It was probably the muscle in my leg contracting that threw me.

I was lucky and had no injuries other than a leg that stayed sore for months.
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Old 12-16-2002, 09:15 AM   #18
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The big man

Pahaska,

Did you make the call?

You know the one I am talking about................

Smily
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Old 12-16-2002, 10:40 AM   #19
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Actually, no

I'm pretty much an atheist I see the world as a set of probabilities. I just was fortunate that time.
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Old 12-16-2002, 10:46 AM   #20
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A bit off subject

Lightning

I was merrily flying along in a Cessna Citation Jet at 30 something thousand feet and a bit too close to a thunder storm.

Lightning struck the radome on the nose and exitted near the tail.
During it's travel through the plane, it fried the auto-pilot.

For the Ham Radio guys:
The Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club had a presentation from a professional, on the subject of lighting.

For radio towers, you have to have nine ground rods for each leg of the tower to properly dispel the electrical charge.

Your surge protectors are of no use if lightning charge comes down the line. All electronic stuff should be un-plugged and disconnected from cable etc. as it COULD be destroyed.

Lightning demands respect.
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Old 09-13-2003, 05:56 PM   #21
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"Are we safe in our home? Not totally. As a boy, we had a big blue ball of plasma float around our living room for seconds and our telephone literally explode in front of us."

My mom was hard to live with sometimes too, but you got me beat! ; )
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Old 09-14-2003, 10:14 AM   #22
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Re: Pretty low risk, IMHO

Quote:
Originally posted by Pahaska


Are we safe in our home? Not totally. As a boy, we had a big blue ball of plasma float around our living room for seconds and our telephone literally explode in front of us.
I have witnessed something simular.
As a Kid in Michigan I was doing my homework on the couch in the family room durring a storm. We had a big antenna mounted on the chiminy for the TV. We always unplugged the TV from the antenna in storms.

The antenna took a strike.The ligtning hit the antenna, came out the wall outlet, Jumped about 8 feet to the fireplace screen and found ground through the gas line for the fireplace starter. My parrents were sitting at the kitchen table and saw the flash. Scared the hell out of me!
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Old 09-15-2003, 05:51 AM   #23
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Re: Pretty low risk, IMHO

Quote:
Originally posted by Pahaska
Than would indicate an almost vanishingly small risk. Not zero, by any means, but less than, say comeone crossing the centerline and running into you (I have personally observed that numerous times).

Conclusion, I'll stay in the A/S and not worry about it. In the scale of life's risks, this is a very small one.

Hex, I've gotta weigh in with John on this one. The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor regarding lightning. There are many, many other natural phenomina that you're more likely to encounter; but the biggest risk is just driving down the road. Every car you encounter going the other way is a potential threat. Every mile you tow wears the tires, suspension, wheel bearings and hitch parts. At 65 or 70 mph the failure of any of those parts is going to be pretty devastating; yet few folks express any real concern as it doesn't happen often.

Not to be a pessimist or to cause you to not to want to travel, but I'd guess that there are a LOT more Airstreams totalled and their owners injured by traffic accidents than by lightning.

In the big scheme of life, being hit by lightning is not one of my concerns (and I'm one of the guys who sits out during thunderstorms watching for tornados so we can alert the folks who push the button for the sirens to sound.)

Roger
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Old 09-15-2003, 06:20 AM   #24
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lightning strikes.

There are not many things that I remember from my 3rd grade year. But I do have vivid recall of that ball of energy floating around our classroom one day as a T-storm rumbled outside. The recolection of the day J.F.K. met his fate is another.
Bob
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Old 09-15-2003, 09:28 AM   #25
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Lightning like electricity takes the path of least resistanc. Planes are struk quite regulary with no effect to the people inside them. once it hits a metal structure it will travel around to the ground as metal conducts electricity better than a human body. After all the best place to be in a lightning storm is inside a metal cage, sounds crazy. I feel safer in an airstream during a electrical storm than in my wood frame house.
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Old 12-17-2005, 03:13 PM   #26
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Here is some info on lightning and electricity from the boys who play with this stuff every day.


I have seen all the tires on a large dump truck blown out from a momentary contact with a 25000 volt power line ( I have pictures somewhere). Tires do not insulate at all.


The metal shell of the Airstream will provide protection from electrocution by providing an equi-potential zone around the person. When the lightning strikes the trailer metal, the potential of the entire trailer goes all at the same time so the person inside would not feel electricity. You need a difference in potential for current to flow.


Airplanes are struck frequently by lightning but the passengers are not shocked.


The real danger comes from the secondary effects such as fire, loud sound, etc... A strike could ignite any part of the trailer because the strike represents thousands of amps of flow and if you remem some basid physics current squared times the resistance is power so a lightning strike of thousands of amps can really heat some metal and stuff up.


An isolation transformer will provide little lightning protection if any the potential is just too great. There is a good chance (because nobody knows for sure) that the lightning will seek the wiring in the trailer and vaporize it seeking a nice path to ground. You could also see it go through the tires, sewer hose power connections, a twig leaning along the side whatever...
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Old 12-17-2005, 04:36 PM   #27
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I found my pictures of the truck. CLICK HERE to see them.
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Old 12-17-2005, 04:59 PM   #28
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OT - electricity

O.K. This is off topic but I uploaded some video's of electricity getting out of hand.

CLICK HERE to see them.
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