ANSWERS: 15
  • planes, flying in the sky, are not grounded and does not have any zero relative ground as things on earth has. so, when lightning strike them, even one, all electricle systems could get dammaged badly. for what I know from my service at the air force, at the tip of the wings, there are electro-static bars, made of led and other metal, like a small antenas. it helps, but when an air craft came in, after got hit by lightning, most of it's computers, and sometimes even major electrical system where badly dammaged. still the pilot mannaged to land safly, because of backup systems.
  • What happens? Usually not much. When struck by lightning, the electrical energy travels through the metal skin of the aircraft and is dissapated via the static wicks. Burn marks will be found at the entry and exit point of the strike (exit points occur if not all the energy is dissapated via the wicks). Occasionally in the more severe instances electrical equipment or avionics may be affected or damaged. It would be a highly unlikely scenario that lightning would cause a crash. There are only a handful of accidents on record due to a strike. Most notably was back in the 1960's when lightening hit a Pan Am plane directly on the fuel vent causing it to explode inflight. After that accident, the vents were redesigned and static wicks were required to be installed on aircraft. These are the 13 accidents on record where ligtning was a cause or contributing factor: http://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?Event=WXL Lightning strikes are more common than one might think. Statistics show that the commercial airlines average one hit per aircraft per year or an average of once every 1500 flight hours. Aircraft are required to remain at least 20 miles from thunderstorms, mainly to protect them from hail and turbulence, but also from lightning. However, lightning strikes have been known to occur in the clear air up to 50 miles downwind from the nearest thunderstorm. http://www.b737.org.uk/lightning.htm http://www.jdchapdelaine.com/lightning.htm
  • A detailed inspection of certain areas is required when a known lightning strike is reported. There is an entry and exit point associated with a lightning strike. On aluminum aircraft damage is evidenced by pock mark like areas where the metal was semi-molten. Typically found at areas of fuselage where shape is pointed or tapered. Also occurs in areas with gaps, i.e. aileron to wing attach. Poorly bonded or designed electrical and electronic components can be damaged also. More interesting is the phenomena of St. Elmo's fire. Not only is it a spectactular sight to see, the reaction to it has the added bonus of distinguishing between real pilots and wannabes.
  • Usuaully there will be audible bang, and circuits popping, but never any serious damage. The shells of airplanes are made of either aluminum, an excellent conductor of electricity, or composite that contains conductive fibers so if the plane is struck, the lightning travels along the exterior of the plane then out into the open air. Sensitive electrical equipment is shielded with surge protectors, and FAA tests every crucial piece of flying and landing equipment against lightning. The last "fatal" accident from lightening happened in 1967 with a fuel tank exploding.
  • But...Lightning don't usually strike airplanes, almost never, because lightning is electricity which tends to find the easiest to the ground, and if a plane is flying, it's not an easy way to go to the ground, despite being made of metal.
  • There have been cases of lightning strikes on commercial aircraft, but they seemed to withstand them without any serious damage.
  • Your's is a good question.I too had the same doubt.But usually planes fly in the region where no clouds are present.Actually they fly above the clouds i.e they fly in the ironosphere.But I do not what would happen while landing or taking off.
  • We have static wicks on planes that to release all the static electricity. Your radios and electrical may go out but the airplane is still going to fly if its made of aluminum. Look up composite aircraft and see what happens when they are struck by lighting like the Diamond Eclipse it will explode.
  • Damage is usually not of the type that will render the aircraft unflyable. However, the damage to the airframe might be burned aluminum skin on the trailing edges of the wings and empenage. Holes have been burned in radomes and the airloads have torn out big chunks of radome (much like the accepted cause of the disintegration of Columbia). Additionally, a lightning strike can magnetize engine parts such as crankshafts. While this will not stop the engine immediately, it will lead to a very expensive replacement of components.
  • today, my plane was struck by lightning. i saw a flash and bolt hit the wing and immediately felt a jolt and heard a loud bang. it didnt really scare the whole plane, many people did not even know what happened. the pilot made an announcment that we were hit by lightning and that everyone was safe.
  • The effect of a lightning strike is usually harmless, although sometimes some mysterious things can occur. The average commercial jet (if such a thing exists) is actually struck by lightning about twice a year. Some may never be struck, others may be struck more. It depends on where the aircraft's flights usually take it. FAA regulations require commercial aircraft to remain at least 20 nautical miles from thunderstorms and other severe weather masses. However, sometimes this is unavoidable during low level operation. Many folks can tell a tale or two about a horrifying takeoff in a storm. Storms and lightning may be a scary thought for an airborne passenger. On the flight deck, they aren't as scary as you think. I've been an airline pilot since I turned 23. I've held positions for cargo airlines as a first officer on 747s. 757/767's, DC-9's, DC-10's and now, a captain of the CRJ-200. I've seen more lightning strikes and thunderstorms than most storm chasers. One of my first experiences was on the DC-9 during finals into my home base airport. We were hurrying to get the cockpit ready for landing, flying at 3000 feet, with a storm fast approaching. After a large flash and a fairly loud bang, we realized we had been struck. No warning lights came on and nothing happened. A similar experience happened on the 747 while flying at 36,000 feet. I had just come from the cabin with my lunch - just in time to see the flash. Maintainance personell later found a black smudge on the aircraft. So as you see, it's quite common and 99.999999% of the time is completely harmless. Lighting was suspected of causing an Eygtair crash, but evidence is somewhat inconclusive. In short, it's nothing to worry about.
  • I do not know what happens when lightning hits a plane but I do know cow horns light up
  • This is rare, but it does happen. Usually, the airplane will reject the strike and everything is okay. It depends on where the lightning strike hits. The fuel tanks are not a safe place for lightning to strike.
  • I was aboard a packed nighttime flight, DC10, from Newark to Rome during a strong thunder storm. On take off, while climbing, the plane went totally black and there was silence for but a few, but noticeable, seconds. Once the episode was over and the lighting returned, passengers had questioning looks on their faces, and some chitter-chatter, but nothing beyond that. We continued the flight as normal and did not turn back. No explanation from crew was forthcoming. Later, while walking around the cabin, I spotted a member of the cockpit crew and, with no other passengers within earshot, had the opportunity to ask him what happened. He casually said that we had been hit by lightning...and that there was no problem. Apparently, he was right...I'm still here...and I had a great ten days in Rome. :-)
  • Generally, it is no big deal. While flying, I have had my airliner (I'm a pilot) struck by lightning a few times. Sometimes you will be able to find the entrance hole upon post-flight inspection. Less likely for the exit. All aircraft components are grounded to each other. What is surprising is when you can actually hear the crackle inside the cockpit.

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