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Aircraft trivia:Is the plane afraid of lightning in flight?

On May 5, 2019, a Russian passenger plane crashed, causing 41 passengers to die. The cause of the accident was that the passenger plane was hit by lightning during the flight, which caused a lot of public concern. The aircraft is an indispensable means of transportation for our daily travel, so what harm does the lightning strike have on the aircraft? Does the aircraft really encounter lightning strikes? How should the aircraft avoid lightning strikes?


Lightning clouds are often accompanied by lightning, which can have a significant impact on aircraft flight. The monitoring found that when lightning occurs, the electric field intensity in the thunderstorm cloud can reach more than 20,000 volts per meter. It is conceivable that a temperature of 200,000 amps of electricity forms a narrow area of ​​15,000 to 20,000 degrees Celsius, which is undoubtedly the aircraft. In the restricted area, once the aircraft enters, the radio compass fails, the power supply is damaged, and the machine is destroyed.

Aircraft trivia:Is the plane afraid of lightning in flight?-3trivia
Aircraft trivia:Is the plane afraid of lightning in flight?

Inevitably, the aircraft will be struck by lightning during flight, but most of the damage is minor. According to statistics, each normal-operated aircraft receives a lightning strike almost every year, but most of them will not cause disastrous consequences.

To avoid lightning strikes, you must first avoid flying in the thunderstorm. Through the weather radar deployed on the aircraft and the weather forecast on the ground, the thunderstorm cloud is effectively monitored, allowing the aircraft to bypass and stay away from the thunderstorm cloud belt.

In addition, the aircraft has been subjected to various ways to reduce the damage of lightning strikes during the design process. In modern aircraft, whether civilian or military, the threat of lightning has long been considered in the design. In order to protect the crew, passengers and important system components on the aircraft from lightning strikes, a gauze-like metal mesh is embedded in the outer structure of the aircraft. This layer of metal mesh runs through the entire casing, and current cannot enter the cabin and is only conducted outside the aircraft. . In addition, the electronics that connect the fuel tank and other avionics are strictly shielded to protect them from electromagnetic impulses generated by lightning charges. An aircraft needs to undergo severe simulated lightning strikes on the fuselage and internal components before leaving the factory. The aircraft must be able to withstand lightning strikes and the fuselage will not be damaged, the fuel in the fuel tank will not be accidentally ignited, and the electromagnetics will withstand. Interference can only be put into use.

In order to reduce the damage of lightning strikes, the end of the wing of the aircraft will be equipped with an electrostatic brush, and the tail of the fuselage will usually be installed. The principle of tip discharge will release the electric charge generated by the air friction on the casing.

Although lightning will have a great impact on aircraft flight, with the advancement of technology, this effect will become smaller and smaller, and it will certainly be safer to travel by plane.

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