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What Happens When Your Airplane Is Struck by Lightning

I’ve just had an exciting night staying up and watching YouTube videos of planes being struck by lightning.

According to Scientific America:

Although passengers and crew may see a flash and hear a loud noise if lightning strikes their plane, nothing serious should happen because of the careful lightning protection engineered into the aircraft and its sensitive components. Initially, the lightning will attach to an extremity such as the nose or wing tip. The airplane then flies through the lightning flash, which reattaches itself to the fuselage at other locations while the airplane is in the electric “circuit” between the cloud regions of opposite polarity. The current will travel through the conductive exterior skin and structures of the aircraft and exit off some other extremity, such as the tail. Pilots occasionally report temporary flickering of lights or short-lived interference with instruments.

Even though it isn’t entire dangerous–it’s still cool!

plane storm lightning

But even with how scary it can look, lightning generally isn’t dangerous.

But it still looks good in this highlight reel:

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. Veenya

    @Jeanne23 nothing, been on a jet on approach to LAX, loud boom, flash of light, and we carried on

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