As you can probably tell, aircraft are much more susceptible to being struck by lightening as they have to navigate steadily through clouds. But just how often do they get struck by it? It has been estimated by Quartz that each airplane is struck by lightning at least once in a year. But before you cancel your reservations and vow not to travel by air again, do hear us out. Especially those suffering from astraphobia! (Fear of being struck be lightning)
When you are on the ground, the chances of being struck by lightning are quite less. But, when you are in the air in hundreds of feet long giant metal body, the chances increase by over 560 times. But why is that you haven’t felt the lightning being struck? Nor will anyone be able to tell it no matter how frequently they have travelled by air. The reason is that when a bolt of lightning strikes the plane, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING happens!
There is always a safety precaution in designing aeroplane bodies as the wings, fuselage, storage tanks and all other exposed materials are tested to be protected from 30,000 amperes of current that a bolt possesses. When lightning does strike, it flows through the outer shell of the plane and without causing any damage to the underlying parts. You might think there is a chance that it might penetrate and cause destruction, but that is not the case. These systems are so good that the last time any plane went down due to a thunder strike was back in 1967. The only traces they leave are some burn marks that can easily be repainted So, now the air travel is back on the table, eh?
But it doesn’t mean that the pilot should go looking for trouble when he sees a group of lightning clouds. Pressure gaps, surges and uneven winds are far more dangerous and cause a lot of trouble for aircraft no matter how much protected they are from the lightning itself.