One of the greatest risks lightning poses to aviation involves ground-based operations: people working outdoors are particularly vulnerable. A 2013 report by the American Meteorological Society indicated that lightning safety rules for ground-based aviation are not standardized. Airports set their own standards for ceasing and resuming operations, as do FBOs. Here are some typical guidelines for airport management tied to lightning proximity:
– 15 miles: Airport personnel should be monitoring storm activity and establish communication with outdoor operations including ramp and maintenance activities such as mowing.
– 8 miles: Airport ground personnel should be aware of a severe weather event. Airport management should be prepared to order curtailment of outdoor activities.
– 5 miles: Cease fueling operations.
– 3 miles: Ground personnel discontinue use of headsets.
– 2 miles or less: Stop all ramp activity and clear the area until the storm passes.