Static Wicks, do I really need them?

Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

Greetings,

I was having a conversation today with friends regarding "static wicks" on light personal aircraft.

I've seen them on a C172 before, but they were older models who still had ADF radios installed. I said they were required for using HF/UHF radios and to reduce static noises.

My personal R172XP doesn't have any static wicks and it also never had an ADF.

They argued that it was to release static from the wing from friction from dry air moving across the wing and it needs a place to go.

I thought that a 172 flew too slow for static to be an issue for modern electronic radios to be affected by static buildup.

Can you explain this to me and if I really need to install static wicks on my 1977 R172XP?

Thank You
Matt Berg

Scott Sherer
Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

Need help? Let me know!

Comments

  • I am curious as well. I just sold my 182, and now fly a Beechcraft Debonair. Neither had static wicks…

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Hi Kent,
    We may all have this question. I think we may learn something along the way, here... :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    From our A&P:
    There's not really much to add, the explaination below is pretty much spot on.

    A 172 is really too slow for much static to build up unless you are flying in a lot of precip (especially snow) or a dusty environment.

    You would know if you needed them because your radio reception and transmission would degrade noticeably as your flight progressed.

    ADF/DF UHF are more prone to interference so that's where that part fits in.

    Keep in mind on your "310" that has wicks, that the wicks alone are only part of the "system"; the wicks must be properly bonded to the airframe and all the bonding straps need to be in good shape as well.

    An avionics shop that has a Megohmeter can check the wicks & straps and tell you if they're in good shape or if they need to be replaced or cleaned up.

    Again though, you'd kind of have an idea because P-static would be noticeable.

    ~Erich Rempert, IA Consultant

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Thanks, as always, Erich!

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