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Category: Science
Date: 04/29/10 10:32 AM

70 Responses to Huge Lightning Bolt Strikes Plane In Mid-Air

  1. Profile photo of Tyronics
    Tyronics Male 18-29
    107 posts
    April 26, 2010 at 11:20 pm
    Link: Huge Lightning Bolt Strikes Plane In Mid-Air - And takes it!
  2. Profile photo of xhaseox
    xhaseox Male 18-29
    519 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:13 am
    lol I wonder if the plane landed or crashed
  3. Profile photo of dracokain
    dracokain Male 18-29
    266 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:18 am
    who the hell sits outside and video tapes planes
  4. Profile photo of Salted_Eggs
    Salted_Eggs Male 18-29
    774 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:19 am
    WTH? Shouldn`t it have blown up?
  5. Profile photo of Monosandalos
    Monosandalos Male 30-39
    277 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:25 am
    I find myself counting seconds between a lightning strike and the subsequent thunder. I do it almost compulsively.
    In this case the lightning took place roughly 4.6km (2.9m) from the camera.
    Not that it matters...
  6. Profile photo of sirrix
    sirrix Male 18-29
    210 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:26 am
    Planes get struck by lightning all the time - they are not grounded so it is extremely unlikely that any damage would occur. Basically, the lightning conducts around the frame of the plane and continues down to Earth. Same general principle that prevents birds from being electrocuted on overhead wires.
  7. Profile photo of Salted_Eggs
    Salted_Eggs Male 18-29
    774 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:37 am
    WTH? Shouldn`t it have blown up?
  8. Profile photo of Geogypsy
    Geogypsy Female 18-29
    2546 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:38 am
    "Who the hell sits outside and video tapes planes?"

    Plane spotters?
  9. Profile photo of a1butcher
    a1butcher Male 40-49
    4812 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 10:39 am
    I always had a habit of counting after seeing lighting... so....6 Km away by my estimation.
    Very cool vid.
  10. Profile photo of haf2001
    haf2001 Female 18-29
    57 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 10:44 am
    due to the fact that they aren`t grounded, a plane is the safest place you can be during a lightening storm.
  11. Profile photo of haf2001
    haf2001 Female 18-29
    57 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 10:45 am
    An airborne plane, that is.
  12. Profile photo of davymid
    davymid Male 30-39
    12151 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 10:48 am
    "Mmm, smells good, they must be serving bacon for the in-flight meal!"

    "Bad news honey. That`s not bacon you smell. That`s the pilot"
  13. Profile photo of TopperHey
    TopperHey Male 18-29
    1930 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 10:48 am
    If you`re suprised by this then you`re either under 16 (fair enough) or you need to think more (just generally. It helps.).
  14. Profile photo of zazuch
    zazuch Male 18-29
    286 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:03 am
    @ dracokain

    It could have been he was filming the incoming storm and just got the plane as something to watch while filming the storm. There is a lot of people who try to catch lighting on moving and still film with 35 mm or digital SLR cameras. It makes some pretty cool photos.
  15. Profile photo of MrTwidget
    MrTwidget Male 30-39
    795 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:06 am
    Although passengers and crew may see a flash and hear a loud noise if lightning strikes their plane, nothing serious should happen because of the careful lightning protection engineered into the aircraft and its sensitive components. Initially, the lightning will attach to an extremity such as the nose or wing tip. The airplane then flies through the lightning flash, which reattaches itself to the fuselage at other locations while the airplane is in the electric "circuit" between the cloud regions of opposite polarity. The current will travel through the conductive exterior skin and structures of the aircraft and exit off some other extremity, such as the tail. Pilots occasionally report temporary flickering of lights or short-lived interference with instruments.

    scientificamerican.com
  16. Profile photo of DanteInferno
    DanteInferno Female 18-29
    61 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:11 am
    sirrix, so you`re saying as long as i have wings taped to my back, i can`t be electrocuted? Time for an experiment...
  17. Profile photo of DGbME
    DGbME Male 40-49
    451 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:21 am
    Wow, talk about luck catching that on camera unintentionally. too cool.
  18. Profile photo of turbotong
    turbotong Male 18-29
    600 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:26 am
    The electronics inside won`t get damaged. Outer metal layers acts as a Faraday cage.
  19. Profile photo of jamesrs
    jamesrs Male 18-29
    85 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:40 am
    but the plane wasnt earthed so the shock wouldnt have affected them any way. am i right? cus other wise ive got it wrong and am going to fail my GCSE`s
  20. Profile photo of vilem
    vilem Male 18-29
    372 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:45 am
    Shocking
  21. Profile photo of Pooptart19
    Pooptart19 Male 18-29
    2442 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:48 am
    I automatically thought of this. xD
  22. Profile photo of rockcabbage
    rockcabbage Male 18-29
    394 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:56 am
    All planes get struck by lightning several times a year, it may of had even happened to you and you may not of had even noticed!
  23. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10722 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 11:56 am
    @vilem
    indeed
  24. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17515 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm
    MrTwidget: There have been a few jet engine flame outs as well as circuit breaker issues, But usually nothing major. I believe the most damage ever done ,From lightning to a plane, Was while the plane was still on the tarmac.
  25. Profile photo of sirrix
    sirrix Male 18-29
    210 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm
    @Dante: With or without wings, electricity takes the path of least resistance. So if you could perch yourself on top of an electrical wire like a bird, the electricity would not enter your body because (a) you`re not grounded and (b) there is less resistance for it to keep going through the wire. A similar principle applies with planes, where the conductive exterior of the plane is the path of least resistance, so none of the internal components or passengers are exposed to any electrical current. The worst thing that could happen is, as someone else said, a momentary disruption in lighting or instruments which is probably caused by the magnetism associated with such a high-voltage event. I thought birds on wires was 4th grade science class...
  26. Profile photo of yumyum1
    yumyum1 Male 18-29
    129 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm
    that one bolt was from the God of the Airline Unions..dont mess with his children!!
  27. Profile photo of fiizok
    fiizok Male 40-49
    591 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm
    MrTwidget is right. These things are designed to withstand lightning strikes.
  28. Profile photo of kribbe
    kribbe Male 18-29
    2006 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm
    why where they filming planes?
  29. Profile photo of mac_n_cheese
    mac_n_cheese Male 13-17
    148 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm
    actually, mrtwidget, there`s a much simpler explanation to this...its called a Faraday`s cage
    the lightening will only travel AROUND the surface of the aeroplane
  30. Profile photo of Angelmassb
    Angelmassb Male 18-29
    15511 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm
    That is why you have to keep your cellphone turned off
  31. Profile photo of RyanHake
    RyanHake Male 18-29
    2690 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm
    Awesome
  32. Profile photo of cobrakiller
    cobrakiller Male 18-29
    7426 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm
    that was pretty sick, im glad it nothing happened though.
  33. Profile photo of mcfudge
    mcfudge Male 18-29
    537 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    NO... it is not a faraday cage, the paint is conductive, then there is a discharge rod out the back. Planes are 100% safe from lightning strikes.
  34. Profile photo of Spider_sol
    Spider_sol Male 18-29
    1452 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm
    So as mcfudge just said: It`s not faraday`s cage, it`s `insert exactly what faraday`s cage is`
  35. Profile photo of Fatninja01
    Fatninja01 Male 30-39
    25408 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm
    Wow, thats insane!
  36. Profile photo of K3vin
    K3vin Male 18-29
    487 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm
    "that was pretty sick, im glad it nothing happened though"

    airplanes are designed to handle lightning and static buildup... It would take a monster of a lighting bolt for anyone to notice the plane was struck.
  37. Profile photo of LazyMe484
    LazyMe484 Male 18-29
    10443 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm
    airplanes are designed to handle lightning and static buildup... It would take a monster of a lighting bolt for anyone to notice the plane was struck.

    More like planes are immune to lightning entirely.
  38. Profile photo of trudenter
    trudenter Male 18-29
    69 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    "NO... it is not a faraday cage, the paint is conductive, then there is a discharge rod out the back. Planes are 100% safe from lightning strikes."

    that put a smile on my face:)
  39. Profile photo of Skythe
    Skythe Male 18-29
    965 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm
    Another one escapes the wrath of Zeus.
  40. Profile photo of duffytoler
    duffytoler Male 40-49
    5196 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm
    I`m never getting on a plane again.
  41. Profile photo of Tonyjet
    Tonyjet Male 18-29
    3299 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm
    yeah planes are built for that, and have you ever been in a car struck by a lightning bolt?? yeah nothing happens either
  42. Profile photo of tvhargon
    tvhargon Male 18-29
    70 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm
    That cloud didn`t strike the plane, the plane struck the cloud with lightening. That`s one bad ass plane.
  43. Profile photo of Pyrosisflame
    Pyrosisflame Male 18-29
    592 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm
    chuck norris was on the plane, he woulda flown himself but he cant get any air to go under his arms. every time he does he knocks it out =/
  44. Profile photo of Shokz
    Shokz Male 18-29
    117 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm
    Sure they`re built for it, but when struck by lightning even like that you can be exposed to pretty high levels of gamma radiation which isn`t exactly all that good for you :/
  45. Profile photo of doug1963aaa
    doug1963aaa Male 40-49
    347 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    @Shokz--Gamma radiation from a lightning bolt?

    Nonsense!
  46. Profile photo of bridog6996
    bridog6996 Male 18-29
    571 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    Not surprising. Since the plane isn`t grounded, the electricity passes right through.
  47. Profile photo of imghandi
    imghandi Male 18-29
    7 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 5:56 pm
    yeah the plane acts as a conductor and the electricity passes only on the surface so the people inside are perfectly ok. Same principle behind your car being the safest place in a lightning storm, the car acts like a cage and the electricity only passes on the surface.
  48. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm
    Not surprising. Since the plane isn`t grounded, the electricity passes right through.

    The electricity is punching through as much as two miles of air with such power involved that it annihilates a column of air on the way down. The distance between the plane and the ground is a trifle to a lightning bolt, so the plane is grounded in that sense.

    The strike will have flowed around the outside surface of the plane, following the path of least resistance. You`re safe from lightning if you`re inside a box of conductive material. Plane, train, car, whatever.

    The main risk was to the plane`s electronics, but not much even then. A car`s electronics can survive the car being struck repeatedly and a plane`s are better protected.
  49. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm
    Which reminds me of a question I never found the answer to. Maybe someone here will know.

    Would a car made of carbon fibre protect you against a lightning strike in the same way?

    What about a car with a fabric roof up? I`m thinking it would most likely strike the structure the roof attaches too and flow around the body of the car, but I`m not sure.
  50. Profile photo of Mardie
    Mardie Female 40-49
    26 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 7:12 pm
    As I recall, the E field within a conducting shell is constant. Basically, the electricity travels around the outside. The same holds true with a car. I believe it is Gauss`s Law.
  51. Profile photo of xxPinkxx
    xxPinkxx Female 18-29
    3830 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 7:31 pm
    Guess thats why they make you circle the airport until thunderstorms are over. Pain in the ass, but id rather not risk it.

    its cool that the plane is ok, and amazing that we have the technology to prevent accidents happening.
  52. Profile photo of OldOllie
    OldOllie Male 60-69
    15844 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm
    Would a car made of carbon fiber protect you against a lightning strike in the same way?
    No. The protection comes from being inside a conductive shell that can divert the current around you. A nonconductive shell is basically like sitting outside in a plastic lawn chair with your feet up. You are insulated from the ground by the tires, so you`re somewhat better off than if you were standing on the ground, but not much. I also wouldn`t put much faith in a ragtop, even if it had a metal frame.
  53. Profile photo of logandaninja
    logandaninja Male 13-17
    227 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    it had a fire fart haha
  54. Profile photo of pwecrow
    pwecrow Male 30-39
    40 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm
    the Chuck Norris of planes...not even a massive bolt of lightning can faze it lol
  55. Profile photo of Lionhart2
    Lionhart2 Male 40-49
    8309 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:40 pm
    > And takes it!

    Well of course it frakking takes it! Its a plane, it isn`t GROUNDED so electricity can`t harm it. Duuuh.
  56. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm
    You are insulated from the ground by the tires, so you`re somewhat better off than if you were standing on the ground, but not much.

    Less than not much. The voltage is far too high. You`d need yards of rubber to be of any use as insulation.

    But...carbon fibre is not completely nonconductive. A brief look seems to indicate that it conducts quite well. So I`m not convinced that through the inside of the car would be a path of less resistance than around the outside of the carbon fibre body.
  57. Profile photo of Lionhart2
    Lionhart2 Male 40-49
    8309 posts
    April 29, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    It makes no difference whether the electricity passes through you or not, you only get shocked if you`re the LAST step in the chain. Try the old farm-kids electric fence prank... 3 or 4 of you join hands and stand near an electric fence in gumboots, convince someone passing by to join the chain, and then guy number 1 grabs the electric fence. Only the end guy gets shocked, because he`s the uninsulated one. The electricity passes harmlessly through the others without them feeling it.
  58. Profile photo of Viruzzz
    Viruzzz Male 13-17
    11 posts
    April 30, 2010 at 2:13 am
    That`s not how electricity works
    take a look at this www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n1pSHzdahc
    It has the exact scenario you describe but with the exact opposite result

    Electricity always takes the path of least resistance, it doesn`t matter where you are on that path, if it passes through you, it`s going to hurt.

    The reason a plane is not affected is because they`ll be built with that in mind, a huge lump of metal in the air is more conducting than air itself. the electricity takes a path through the outer shell and passes around everybody inside. Same thing in a car, it travels through the body and therefor around the place where you sit, the rubber tires have nothing to do with it, It`ll just take the path through air that it has done for the past mile above the car.
  59. Profile photo of aikiman
    aikiman Male 40-49
    255 posts
    April 30, 2010 at 5:13 am
    As viruzzz says, it`s got nothing to do with being grounded. The reason you`re safe in a plane or some cars for that matter is because of the Faraday Cage effect. A Faraday cage is any enclosed hollow conducting shell and if struck by lightning,the electric charges on the shell will move around and rearrange themselves until the electric field inside the shell is zero. As long as you`re not in electrical contact with the exterior shell and the outer shell is a continuous condutor, you`ll be fine. Unfotunatley, if your car has a soft top or fibreglass body, your ass is toast..
  60. Profile photo of chewb
    chewb Male 30-39
    22 posts
    April 30, 2010 at 7:24 am
    re: cage effect vs. `insulation` from tires

    It`s actually common sense. It`s just that people don`t take a second to realize that, hey, the lightning is arcing across thousands of feet of air. It can sure the hell get around a 17-inch rubber hoop.

    now, if you`re rolling on 24"s...you probably good. go ahead and put the top down
  61. Profile photo of sfcg
    sfcg Male 30-39
    796 posts
    April 30, 2010 at 7:42 am
    Thank god for proper conduction eh?
  62. Profile photo of chatychickie
    chatychickie Female 18-29
    31 posts
    April 30, 2010 at 11:31 am
    haha dang lionhart, i didn`t know farm kids played such mean pranks!
  63. Profile photo of panzerlancer
    panzerlancer Male 18-29
    130 posts
    May 1, 2010 at 8:49 am
    chaty chickie can i have your msn please :)
  64. Profile photo of octwilite
    octwilite Female 40-49
    188 posts
    May 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm
    The cloud looks like the Gieger(sp?) alien from the Alien and AVP movies.
  65. Profile photo of idiotfilter
    idiotfilter Male 18-29
    3916 posts
    May 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    more like stuck TWICE!
  66. Profile photo of freddyferret
    freddyferret Male 40-49
    11742 posts
    May 4, 2010 at 10:46 pm
    Doesn`t "Lost" start something like that?
  67. Profile photo of laxdef36
    laxdef36 Male 18-29
    171 posts
    May 10, 2010 at 12:23 am
    I`m more confused as to why the the person filming only said woah... than the plane itself not going down.
  68. Profile photo of acitcratna
    acitcratna Male 18-29
    12 posts
    May 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm
    such an awesome video, but yeah, they wouldn`t put planes in the air if they couldnt handle weather
  69. Profile photo of Hitaki318
    Hitaki318 Female 13-17
    193 posts
    May 13, 2010 at 8:50 am
    Lol, I like the way he says, "Whoa! D:"
    He has a voice that reminds me of Kermit the Frog.

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