How are electronic devices grounded in airplanes

Do propellers generate static electricity in flight and how is it handled?

How is the risk of tribo-charging (generation of static electricity) from the propeller in an aircraft managed? Regardless of the size of the aircraft, it appears that the rotation of the propeller or engine blades could create a tribocharging somewhere in the electrical system, and that charge would need to be somehow grounded or diverted.


While these may not be specifically designed to handle static build-up from the strut, static discharges will help dissipate the charge from the aircraft. Static definitely builds up on an airframe and requires your aircraft to be grounded (electrically) prior to refueling.


I liked this answer the most as I specifically named the devices (static dischargers) and referred to my question (static on the airframe). Thank you for the helpful answer!

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Infinitesimal risk, protect Faraday field (additional copper coating for modern aircraft with insulating composite material) and devices like these dissipate static electricity.

Carlo Felicione

As far as I know, it's not a huge risk. The prop is grounded to the airframe through the motor and any static charges are dissipated through static wicks or similar devices. Grounding and electrical connection are covered in 14 CFR ยง23.867 and OEM repair manuals for structures.


Static electricity is less of a risk than lightning strikes. Static wicks help in both cases. The main effect of static electricity is on the ADF, where it can cause irregular storage fluctuations. While static builds up from props, the largest source is precipitation (rain), which moves across the skin and is known as P-static.