What Happens When A Plane Is Struck By Lightning?

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Offline arefin

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What Happens When A Plane Is Struck By Lightning?
« on: May 19, 2015, 10:42:28 AM »
It probably takes suffering from astraphobia to even know what that is – the fear of being struck by lightning. Well, if by any chance you suffer from this kind of phobia, you might want to lower the risks of ever getting struck by a lightning bolt by doing basic things like avoiding open areas and staying away from metal during a storm. However, what most people are unaware of is that the risk of this happening increases 560 times if you are in a flying plane!

According to data collected by the Quartz, every operating aircraft in the world is struck by lightning at least once a year. But before you decide to never get on a plane again, you should know exactly what happens when a lightning bolt strikes a plane: practically nothing.

During the design process of a modern aircraft, there is always an engineer who is responsible for making sure that all the equipment, electrical systems and fuel are protected from the 30,000 amperes discharge of a lightning bolt. When the discharge strikes a plane, electricity simply travels through the outer shell of the aluminum fuselage, not causing any actual damage to the plane.

In fact, aircraft protection against lightning is so good that often passengers don’t even realize it happened and the only damage that might be left behind are slight burn marks at the entry and exit points. According to historical records, the last time a plane crashed because it was struck by a lightning bolt was in the United States in 1967 – almost 50 years ago.

Now you know, and you can keep your cool during flights. Although a large metal structure flying through clouds of charged electrical particles is an easy target for lightning – and sometimes even causes it – you will still be much safer up there than if you were taking a swim during a storm.
“Allahumma inni as'aluka 'Ilman naafi'an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa 'amalan mutaqabbalan”

O Allah! I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision and deeds that will be accepted. [Ibne Majah & Others]
Taslim Arefin
Assistant Professor
Dept. of ETE, FE