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gregorygoodwin
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:01 pm

Ligthning Strikes.

Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:51 pm

I have not been on a flight that has taken a lightning strike, at least not one I was aware of. I was wondering if any of the flight crew followers of this forum could share info on this. Do you know for sure when you take a strike or suspect that the ship has taken a strike?
I work in the structures shop at IND for FDX, and we occasionally get lightning strike aircraft into the hangar. It's one of our most dreaded jobs as the damage can sometimes be widespread and require a lot of work to correct. At times the flight crew will report a strike, and other times it is found on the post flight walk around by maintenance personnel.
It seems to me that our MD10's, MD11's and B767's do not have as many strikes as our B757's which seem to be a magnet for lightning strikes.
Any thoughts?

Gregory
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:19 am

We don't always know for sure. Sometimes there's a lot of lighting activity around but we don't see or hear anything concrete. So we might think it is possible, but we are not certain.

Other times it feels like Thor himself reaches out and smites the aircraft. You'll see the bolt strike, and hear a tremendous kaboom! The first time I experienced that I almost crapped my pants. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:07 am

I had 3 or 4 during my flying career, two of them while still in the military in F-4s. No damage. Two with the airlines, 727 and 747-200 freighter. Both of these sounded like the sound of throwing an incandescent light bulb at a brick wall but louder,--- kinda like a very loud pop. The one in the freighter was very close to my seat (FO) and as Starlionblue said "scared the living sh** out me. Upon landing in Cincinnati, we told the mechanics about it, they brought out an airstairs and all of us inspected 8-9 pinholes in the skin right below my side window. So I don't know if it was bad luck that we got hit or good luck that I didn't physically feel a thing, except for the momentary urge for a BM.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:16 pm

AS I commented on another post, We were it in a DC-10 MEM-BOS. Loud bang but all indications were normal. Afer landing in BOS there were 8-9 burn marks around door R-1 and a 7-8" piece of the left elevator missing.
 
airman99o
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:31 pm

A few years back. On a 320 landing into YOW. I was working in securing the forward galley as the Purse was making her way through the cabin for final. I sat in the jump seat and there was a slight shudder then the floor level exit sign popped off and flew across the galley to the 1L door. The forward right side of the aircraft took the hit and it was a big bright light out side the little viewing window on the door.
I had called the Flifht deck to advise of what was noticed and they quickly said that the FOs side screens had all gone black , and were aware of the strike. I hang up and the purse comes back to the forward to call the flight deck to advise she had seen electricity arcs in the rear galley. I told her I advised the Flight deck. And showed her the Exit sign.
Landed with no issues. I do know the aircraft spent a couple of days grounded for repairs.
Safety is Everyones Responsibility.
 
gregorygoodwin
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:55 pm

Great stories and responses! Thanks guys! It's amazing when you see lightning in storms hitting the ground and what power it has, that a aircraft can take that kind of hit and keep going. The strange laws of physics!

Gregory
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:28 am

It's not grounded
 
B6JFKH81
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Sat Feb 27, 2021 3:41 am

It really depends on where the strike occurs in the airframe and how it migrates through the airframe and exits the aircraft. I've been on a flight that got hit during approach, hit the horizontal stabilizer, exited the same area, blew off static wicks and charred the trailing edge of the elevator....nobody knew we had a strike until walk-around had findings of discoloration on that elevator. Yes there was a bright flash but we didn't know we were hit. (I was a pax). Then on another flight we got hit under the co-pilot windshield, it migrates aft, blew out the WX radar transceiver and some other things and rivets down 3/4 of the fuselage. Pilots knew about that one obviously LOL. (I also a pax on that flight).
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
QF93
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:04 am

gregorygoodwin wrote:

It seems to me that our MD10's, MD11's and B767's do not have as many strikes as our B757's which seem to be a magnet for lightning strikes.


Does anyone have thoughts why the 757 would be so much more susceptible? Is it just a relative size issue?
 
kalvado
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:28 pm

QF93 wrote:
gregorygoodwin wrote:

It seems to me that our MD10's, MD11's and B767's do not have as many strikes as our B757's which seem to be a magnet for lightning strikes.


Does anyone have thoughts why the 757 would be so much more susceptible? Is it just a relative size issue?

A totally wild guess - could it have something to do with static dissipation? It is one thing that has to affect lightning strikes, and dissipation being too ineffective - or maybe too effective as well - may play a role
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:00 pm

gregorygoodwin wrote:
It seems to me that our MD10's, MD11's and B767's do not have as many strikes as our B757's which seem to be a magnet for lightning strikes.
Any thoughts?

Gregory


My experience is the opposite. In the spring, it seems there’s an MD-11 or a B767 out of service somewhere in our system for a lightning strike at least once a week. I can’t remember the last time we had a strike on a B757.

The winglets on the MD’s seem particularly susceptible to damage, while the aft edges of the thrust reverser sleeves, along with the TE of the elevators seem to take the brunt of it on the B767.
When seconds count, the police are minutes away, or may not come at all.
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Alias1024
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Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:25 am

Had one as an FO on approach to SLC. It hit basically right over my head and made one heck of a loud pop. Screens flickered momentarily but otherwise no issues. McD built them strong.

The other was as a passenger on a Southwest flight going into DTW in a snow storm. I happened to be looking out the window and saw the bolt hit the winglet on the left wing. I didn’t see any damage but obviously couldn’t see the out outboard side from the cabin. Based on the reactions of other passengers a few new pairs of pants might have been bought that day.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
gregorygoodwin
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:01 pm

Re: Ligthning Strikes.

Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:52 pm

An update to this topic. I was recently called over to our flight line in IND to do a visual evaluation of a lightning strike on a MD10-30. When we arrived we were shown a deep dent on the forward right side of the nose of the ship. At first, I thought that this couldn't be lightning strike damage, but an equipment strike. The dent looked like someone had pressed a golf ball into the fuselage skin. It was a perfectly half round dent with no paint damage. Anyway, it was determined to be beyond allowable damage limits per the SRM, so the ship was grounded and sent to the hangar for structures repair. When the dent was cut out, you could see that the skin had heat damage and was apparently a lightning strike point. I didn't get to talk to the flight crew but would have loved to do so as the strike was just below the floor panel level and just outside the first officers window. It must have been quite an experience to have a bolt of lightning go by just inches away!
Gregpry

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