Mysterious Stories – What happens when Lightning strikes a Plane or Helicopter?
On average, an aircraft in commercial service is struck by lightning at least once a year. So what will happen to these plane?
Special weather-related precautions are taken while flying in Airplanes and Helicopters. VIP passengers are even more taken care of when seated. All current airplanes and helicopters are specially designed to withstand the bad weather. They can still withstand lightning strikes.
Recently, the death of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash shocked the entire country. An investigation is underway to find out the reason behind the accident. Some experts blame the lack of helicopters, while others blame the bad weather. Some believe that natural lightning on the helicopter could also be the reason behind this incident.
So, let’s find out what exactly happens when a helicopter is struck by lightning….
It depends on many factors
Airplanes around the world are struck by lightning almost every day. An aircraft in commercial service is struck by lightning on average once a year. However, the frequency with which an aircraft will strike depends on several factors.
In this it is seen how many take offs and landings the aircraft has done. Because lightning strikes are more common between 5,000 and 15,000 feet. It also depends on geographical factors. For example, lightning strikes are more common near the equator than in Florida and the West Coast of the United States.
What happens when an airplane is struck by lightning? Or what damages?
Aluminium conducts the current. Lightning in the sky usually strikes a wide area of the aircraft. such as on the nose or the tip of the wings. This current flows through the fuselage i.e. the centre side of the aircraft and takes the path of least resistance. However, there is a device inside the aircraft, which protects the passengers and the entire aircraft.
What could be the damage?
If an aircraft is struck by sky lightning, pilots check all systems to make sure. They see that everything is going as it should. When plane struck by lightning, small holes can be seen where the current enters.
Lightning strikes can damage aircraft electronics, including flight aids. But this is where pilot training comes in handy, they are capable of flying aircraft without all the modern facilities. Current aircraft are also provided with lightning protection.
How is protection?
Many electronic devices and fuel tanks in airplanes are designed in such a way that they do not generate charged electrical current. Before this happens they are separated by two separate conductors. Commercial aircraft are equipped with static discharge lamps that collect a charge and release it back into the air.
Even an airplane can flash lightning
Sometimes planes are the cause of lightning strikes. Airplanes also receive lightning flashes as many high voltage currents pass through the clouds. For this reason, pilots these days are both equipped and trained to avoid being struck by lightning.
Can passengers get electric shocks on airplanes?
When the plane is struck by lightning, the passengers hear a loud noise. But there is a complete technological system to deal with such situations in the sensitive areas of the aircraft. So the chances of some serious accident happening is very less, Like electric shocks and fire etc.
When lightning strikes or strikes an aircraft, it strikes the aircraft’s wing, its front end, or sharp edges such as its antennae. After this, the power goes through the wires to the tail at the rear of the aircraft. Thus, an aircraft has an outer covering that protects the entire aircraft including the passengers.
However, natural calamities are challenges for the technology, and technology is always ready for challenges, even if, it is for a moment.