View Full Version : Let's talk about lightning 2/27/09
03-01-2009, 08:02 PM
On 2/27 I was waiting in the car at ORD to pick up a friend who was arriving on Spirit Air from RSW. As I waited, lightning strikes were all around me, yet the planes seemed to be coming through without interruption. I was surprised at the number of planes landing, since I thought they tried to avoid it, but these guys were barreling right on in. When my friend arrived, she told me that during descent, the plane was hit on the left wing in the engine area. She reported hearing a crack and then seeing a flash of light outside the plane, next a red glow near the engine as the plane shuddered. Several passengers around her were screaming and crying, but the two off-duty pilots seated opposite her just continued their conversation so she wasn't too concerned. Obviously this isn't a safety issue, but as I stated, I thought planes didn't land into a thunderstorm, so I'm confused. Anyone have any ideas?
03-01-2009, 10:06 PM
I'm surprised there was lightning near ORD on the 27th. The pilots not even looking says it all, doesn't it? It was almost like they were bored of lightning strikes on planes.
Was it especially windy? Serious storm cells? Or just a heavy rainstorm with some lightning? If the storms aren't in the path of the plane, they can probably still land and take off. I really don't know though.
Here's something about lightning and planes:
My personal favorite, a video of radar and FedEx planes landing at MEM during a thunderstorm.
03-11-2009, 01:21 AM
Contrary to popular belief, lightening is not at all serious for an aircraft most of the time. We have movies to thank for the misunderstanding.
The reason is simple: The aircraft is not in contact with the ground.
The charge passes through and the aircraft does not complete a "circuit". Lightening strikes are harmless compared to other weather phenomena like hail, wind, and even too much rain ingestion.
The electromagnetic disturbances around lightening can briefly mess with systems..from generating static on the radio to disorienting the compass..but not for more than a few seconds.
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