Re: Thunderstorms

From: (David Stocker)
Organization: GE Drive Systems, Salem, VA, USA
Date:         22 Jun 94 16:57:49 
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In <airliners.1994.1335@ohare.Chicago.COM> writes:

> 	While taking a recent flight from LaGuardia on a
> 727-200 we flew through a rather significant thunderstorm.
> The rain was coming down pretty hard but what got my 
> attention was at least one lightning flash that was not 
> too far from the plane.  Are most commercial airliners
> protected against lightning flashes?  Has there ever
> been a record of lightning striking an airliner and if
> so, what were the consequences?

Lightning strikes on aircraft are fairly common.  Yes, they
are designed with the possibility of lightning strikes
in mind.  Last year a UPS 757 dirverted here to Roanoke
after taking a strong hit in an area of thunderstorms
between here and Lousivile. There were three burn spots
on the plane, under the cockpit area, but no other visible
damage.  Their electronics were knocked out for a short
time but were fully restored within seconds.  The plane
was stuck here over the weekend until a UPS mechanic
came and released it for flight back to Louisville.
The Captain and F/O told me this was the first time either
had been hit by lightning, but they also added that it
isn't that uncommonon, though.

Also note that thanks to the in-flight weather watch
equipment now required on airliners (weather radar
in particular), airliners almost never fly directly
through thunderstorm cells, where the lightning threat
is greatest.  Twenty+ years ago airliners didn't always
divert around TRW's, simply because they didn't always
know where the cells were.

Dave Stocker         (PP-ASEL, CAP, EAA, AOPA)
GE Drive Systems, 1501 Roanoke Blvd, Salem, Virginia, USA
703-387-7844   GE Dial Comm: 278-7844  Fax:  703-387-8651