The time has come to explain the danger lightning can cause to an airplane. Experience has taught us that no serious damage has been done in known examples, but, are we safe?
Usually, a bolt will hit an extremity, such as a wing tip, or the nose, and the current will travel through the airplane’s metal shell before leaving from another point – the tail, let’s say. And, according to Patrick Smith, pilot and author of ‘Cockpit Confidential’, a book on “everything you need to know about air travel”, planes are hit by lightning far more frequently than you may ever think.
“An individual jet liner is struck about once every two years, on average”, and airplanes are designed to survive, accordingly. “Once in a while there’s exterior damage – a superficial entry or exit wound – or minor injury to the plane’s electrical systems, but a strike typically leaves little or no evidence.” You might not even notice it, he explained. You can relax, It’s not a death threat.