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Friday, August 21, 2015

Lightning strikes Delta flight while it waits to take off in Atlanta


Lightning strikes Delta flight while it waits to take off in Atlanta
Jack Perkins was filming out the window of his plane as it endured a weather-related ground hold at the Atlanta airport on Tuesday. But as he panned down the line of planes that were waiting behind his, he caught a bolt of lightning striking a Delta Boeing 737 while it was parked on the taxiway. Despite the incredible video, the passengers on that particular plane might not have noticed – at least not unless they scrolled through YouTube this morning. Aircraft are protected from lightning strikes because they’re essentially Faraday cages, which means they both block and redistribute external electric fields. As Popular Science explains:

Because aluminum hull of an aircraft is highly conductive, an electrically charged storm cloud will tend to induce a charge separation on the outer surface of any airplane in the vicinity. This creates a difference in potential  – a.k.a. voltage – between the cloud and the plane, resulting in a discharge of electric current between them. Since there is also a potential difference between the airplane and the tarmac, the lightning discharges right through the airplane and into the ground.

Road Warrior Voices has reached out to Delta for comment. And, air travelers, we’re sorry if we’ve just given you something new to fear.

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