Lightning Strike on Aircraft

Lightning Strike on Aircraft

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Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Illustration of a lightning strike on a passenger aircraft based on actual video footage. Such strikes are not uncommon and it has been estimated every passenger aircraft is struck at least once during it's service life. An aircraft acts like a lightning rod and often triggers lightning when flying through a heavily charged region of cloud. Its metal structure provides the lowest resistance for the electrical discharge on its way between the clouds and the ground. The high voltage current will travel through the conductive exterior skin and structures of the aircraft and exit off some other extremity. The airframe acts as a so called "Faraday cage", as with an automobile body, the aluminium structure, when struck by lightning, passes the electrical energy around the exterior and keeps the passengers safe.

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Keywords: aeroplane, aircraft, airplane, aluminium, cloud, current, electric, electrical storm, electricity, energy, faraday, faraday cage, flight, flying, high voltage, jet, lightning, lightning rod, lightning strike, night, storm, thunder, weather

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