Triboelectric charging of aircraft exterior plastic structure is a source of radio interference, especially at the low frequencies used for long range navigation. Stored surface charges may also reach potentials sufficient to result in electrostatic puncture of the dielectric. Additionally electronic components may fail as a result of transients caused by dielectric surface currents or punctures.
Resistive, or other conductive exterior surface coatings are subject to erosion, and may be impractical when transparency is required. If improperly bonded, or maintained, such coatings may result in electrical arcing noise through the UHF band.
Some alternatives are presented, suitable for windshield and radome applications, along with electrostatic charging test data. Also discussed are several test and instrumentation methods, including a new improved ground test method applicable to full scale aircraft.