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Aircraft Lightning Strikes Continue

by John M. White |

In interesting news I see that three aircraft were struck by lightning in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 22nd.  The aircraft struck were:

  1. An AirTran Airways Boeing 717 was struck by lightning, declared an emergency and then landed on runway 27R at Philadelphia.  The landing was uneventful, and there were no injuries.
  2. An Embraer 170 regional jet flown by Republic Airlines reported a lightning strike over Philadelphia and made an uneventful landing on runway 27L in Philadelphia.
  3. A Boeing 757 flown by America West reported a lightning strike 3 minutes after the Embraer lightning strike, declared an emergency and landed on runway 27L at Philadelphia. The landing was uneventful.

The FAA inspectors will examine all three aircraft for damage. Apparently the Embraer had no damage, the AirTran aircraft was struck on the nose and the America West aircraft had "some" damage.Click on image to enlarge

On the other side of the world three aircraft were struck by lightning landing in Melbourne, Australia. One was a Virgin Blue aircraft and the other two were Qantas aircraft. 

Earlier in the month another Virgin Atlantic aircraft on its way to Heathrow on April 19th had smoke in the upper deck of a 747, then shortly thereafter was struck by lightning and the pilot landed the darkened aircraft at Halifax without warning as the aircraft jolted onto the runway at Halifax - the pilot only then revealing they had been hit by lightning and admitting he only saw the runway at the last minute.

Apparently there are a lot more lightning strikes to aircraft than the public has been made aware of, but most cause minor, if any, damage to the aircraft involved. Still, it can be a frightning experience.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


An Airman Grace

Lord of thunderhead and sky
Who place in man the will to fly
Who taught his hand speed, skill and grace
To soar beyond man's dwelling place
You shared with him the Eagle's view
The right to soar, as Eagles do
The right to call the clouds his home
And grateful, through your heavens roam
May all assembled here tonight
And all who love the thrill of flight
Recall with twofold gratitude
Your gift of Wings, Your gift of Food.

— Father John MacGillivary, Royal Canadian Air Force


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