This is Exactly What Happens When Lightning Strikes a Plane

Find out what happens to the plane and the passengers when lightning strikes.

Have you ever thought about what happens when lightning strikes a plane? A burnt exterior, a shredded fuselage, a fire onboard? None of the above, actually. 

Lightning doesn't damage modern airplanes as much as one may think.  

Actually, because of the security rules, pilots aren't allowed to fly into a storm front. The plane should go around a thundercloud instead. 

Even though lightning doesn't do a lot of damage to airplanes, they still avoid it because it can cause turbulence which can lead to loss of control over the aircraft. 

According to retired pilot Chris Hammond, before an airplane goes into service, it gets tested for all possible incidents. A lightning strike simulation is included. As seen from the Wow flight in 2016 from Reykjavík, Iceland to Paris, France, the bolt usually hits the plane in the area of its nose and leaves near the tail and through the tails. 

What would happen when lightning strikes a plane is already known thanks to the tests. And it usually happens exactly in the way everything should work. 

Yeah, it's shocking that lightning, which is 5 times hotter than Sun and can be blinding when you're dangerously close to a strike, does no damage to airplanes. But it's science, and science is great. 

Advertisement