Why are lightning strikes not dangerous for planes

Airplanes meet lightning more often than you'd think. But they continue their voyage, undisturbed. Here is the story behind it.
Interesting Engineering

In the realm of aerospace innovation, carbon composites have sparked a revolution with their extraordinary properties. However, one formidable challenge loomed large—their limited conductivity when compared to traditional metals. This predicament gave rise to a crucial question: How could modern aircraft be shielded from the formidable forces of lightning strikes, which pose a potent threat to their structural integrity?

The solution, borne from ingenious engineering minds, entailed the integration of a mesh crafted from conductive fibers nestled within the layers of these carbon composites. Though this mesh remains imperceptible to the naked eye, it plays a pivotal role in averting disaster. When lightning's electrifying bolt strikes, instead of courting destruction by channeling electrical energy through the material, it is deftly redirected away by this embedded mesh, preserving the aircraft's structural soundness. Boeing engineer Stephen Henning, a venerable figure in the aerospace domain, hailed this innovation as a testament to their unwavering commitment to passenger safety and innovation. Rigorous testing has demonstrated that their aircraft can weather lightning strikes with remarkable efficacy, often rivaling or surpassing the resilience of their traditional metal-skinned counterparts.

So, the next time you find yourself aloft, witnessing a luminous spectacle of lightning in the skies, spare a moment to acknowledge the astonishing feats of engineering that underpin your safety. As Stephen aptly emphasizes, thanks to this design, lightning remains a breathtaking display of nature, rather than a perilous threat.