Lighting Strikes?

Are lighting strikes common in flying?

I feel like it’s common, but my buddy just sent me photos of his E145 after landing last night showing damage done from a lighting strike while landing. It looks like it didn’t substantially damage any portion externally, but rather attack the ‘magnetic’ features of the engine mounts. Like I said, I feel it is common, but I just kind of want to hear some others experiences if this has happened to you.

Has anyone ever experienced any in-flight lighting ‘attack’? If so, what was that feeling like?



It actually is fairly common and it’s seldom a big deal. I’ve been struck a number of times and only once was there a small pinhole found after. The flash is a little unsettling and you’ll sometimes smell some burning after. Also prior if you’re in an area where there’s heavy convective activity you’ll get the St Elmo’s Fire running up and down the windows which is kind of cool (below is a pic I grabbed somewhere over the Pacific, took about 47 tries to catch it).

There’s only bad strike I know of, which was actually a bizarre one in a billion random event years ago when I was at the Regionals. A friend of mine was going into ORD and they got hit (again usually no big deal). He had been cleared for the approach, disconnected the autopilot and found his elevator was jammed. Fortunately they were already established on the glide slope and he was able to fly the plane using trim for pitch. After they landed the aircraft was inspected and apparently the strike hit the rear nav light on the top of the tail. There was a support ring that held the light in place and when the plane was struck the rivets holding that ring melted, the ring fell into the tail and landed right in the elevator rigging jamming the elevator. Again one in a billion situation.


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I have never had a lighting strike that I am aware of, my I know my father and grandfather both had a few.


Never? Really? Wow! I’ve had many but then again my motto is don’t deviate, penetrate :wink: