This Photo Of An Airplane Struck By Lightning Will Give You Serious Doubts About Flying During A Storm — PHOTO
Stormy weather in Atlanta delayed flights last Wednesday, a fairly unsurprising fact given the region's rainy summers. What did come as a shock was the weather's intensity. While a Delta flight was waiting on the runway of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, it was struck by lightning. This photo of a Delta plane hit by lightning is crazy and, frankly, terrifying. Flight 67 was struck towards its tail, and a power surge of electricity is clearly visible just before its vertical stabilizer.
The flight was bound for Las Vegas and ended up delayed a total of two hours, though not because of the lightning strike. Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant explains that it's incredibly rare for planes struck by lightning to pose a threat to the passengers and crew inside. Durrant told CNN:
Aircraft design allows lightning bolts to be safely redirected. Fuselage structure and industrial-grade insulation acts as [a] super-conductive lightning rod that rechannels lightning around and away from customers and crew and out into the ground via the landing gear.
All 111 passengers and six crew members were reported safe following the incident. The plane landed in Las Vegas just 20 minutes later than expected, departing at 7:32 p.m. EST and arriving at 8:11 p.m. PST.
It appears that no other planes were struck on Wednesday. According to The Washington Post's Jack Williams, lightning strikes while on the tarmac and in the air are fairly common. Williams explains that the threat lightning strikes pose primarily lie in where the energy dissipates as the current becomes grounded:
The greatest potential danger to people of lightning hitting an airplane is probably on the ground. For example, in 1989, lightning killed an airline employee who was talking to the crew using a headset connected to the airplane by a wire when lightning hit the airplane. The plane was being pushed back from a gate at Orlando International Airport.
The brilliant photo of Delta Flight 67 perfectly captures the way the lightning's electrical current dissipates from nose to tail. The strongest burst of electricity can be seen moving towards the back of the plane rather than towards its cockpit. A video has also been posted of the lightning strike via Jack Perkins, who was shooting footage of the planes on a ground hold from the airport's terminal.