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  1. What is static electricity discharging noise ?
  2. How does this phenomena affect radio communications ?
  3. Does the discharging happen through lightning and are static discharger fixed or are they removable - such as telescopic i mean ?
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  1. The noise is created by sparks caused by static electricity. As the aircraft flies through the air, it picks up electrons from the air molecules. This extra charge will want to flow back into the air to equalize the charge. Small gaps in the conductive path on the aircraft will cause sparks to form. These sparks cause noise on radio frequencies, which can be picked up by the aircraft radios.
  2. The static sparks will cause noise on the aircraft radios, sometimes a crackling sound.
  3. Aircraft use static wicks on trailing edges to allow the charge to equalize. If components are electrically bonded well, static electricity should not be noticeable, other than under certain circumstances. The wicks are fixed and not telescopic but of course can be removed if replacement is needed.
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  • $\begingroup$ @foot I asked if static wicks were removable just because I've never seen them, maybe it's too long time since I don't take a plane ;) and what about lightning in discharging ? Are there any incident caused by components improperly bounded ? $\endgroup$ – Davide May 20 '15 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ I remember seeing static wicks from my time in the Air Force, but since they weren't part of my job, I can't remember just when or where I saw them. If they were improperly bonded they'd probably fall off and the pilot would notice on his next walk around, if nobody else noticed first. $\endgroup$ – Howard Miller Apr 22 '16 at 3:24
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Static electricity is accumulation of charges over surface. During flight air frame of aircraft is exposed to the air and collision takes place between air molecules and air-frame which lead to development of electric charges over the air-frame. In my opinion water molecules on air-frame are also cause of static charge as water is slightly polar molecule it has slight negative charge on oxygen and slight positive charge on hydrogen. Signals used in communication are electromagnetic in nature, i.e. they have electric as well as magnetic component. During interception of these communication signals with aircraft, static charges on air-frame interferes with the electric component of communication signal, hence cracking sound is there. During lightening and thunderstorm lots of frequencies are produced sometimes these frequencies also interferes with the radio communication.

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