[VIDEO] LUCKY STRIKE: Lightning Strikes Two Jets on Approach to Sea-Tac Airport

Mid-Air Scare When Lightning Strikes 2 Planes Over Seattle 

SEATTLE —  reports: Some of the people on their way into Seattle Wednesday evening got quite the hello from Mother Nature as lightning struck two different jets as they approached Sea-Tac Airport.

“We were flying in and out of clouds, sunshine then darkness, sunshine then darkness. I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine.” 

University of Washington student Owen Craft was out in the University District trying to film lightning strikes as a thunderstorm moved through and caught the two massive bolts as they passed through the planes’ fuselage.

150402_lightning_plane_tb2

“Airplanes themselves are prepared for this kind of stuff and have the mechanics to manage lightning strikes. We did not receive any reports of precautionary landing alerts from any pilots Wednesday night either.”

—  Sea-Tac Airport public relations manager Perry Cooper, to ABC News

“I was stunned for a second because I couldn’t believe what I just saw,” Craft said. “After the second (plane) got hit, I knew I was on to something spectacular!”

One of those planes was an Alaska Air Flight 515 inbound from Orange County while another was Alaska Air Flight 731 that was coming into Seattle from Houston. Kim Dodge was sitting in Row 9 on the right side of that plane when the bolt hit.

“I think it hit the wing because there was an immediate loud crack and the cabin was bright for that brief second. There was this loud gasp in the cabin after it happened. The people behind me were starting to worry if it was going to affect the landing. It didn’t.”

— Passenger Kim Dodge, who was sitting in Row 9

“We were flying in and out of clouds, sunshine then darkness, sunshine then darkness,” she said. “I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine.”

She said it looked like the bolt exited right below the wing.

“Instantly a sound, a plane move and a flash of light; probably the worst turbulence you’ll ever feel for 2 solid seconds,” said Anthony Porter. “It got people pretty shook up.”

— Anthony Porter, on the Orange County flight that was also hit by lightning

“I think it hit the wing because there was an immediate loud crack and the cabin was bright for that brief second,” she said. “There was this loud gasp in the cabin after it happened. The people behind me were starting to worry if it was going to affect the landing. It didn’t.”

Iron-Man-Lighting

“We landed safely,” Dodge said. “It was startling.”

Anthony Porter was on the Orange County flight that was also hit by lightning:

“Instantly a sound, a plane move and a flash of light; probably the worst turbulence you’ll ever feel for 2 solid seconds,” said Anthony Porter. “It got people pretty shook up.”

But Porter said aside from the moments surrounding the strike, the flight was totally normal.

“It was alarming, but it was so quick, people knew something happened, but no one knew what happened,” he said. “It was a direct hit and 5 seconds before and 5 seconds after — smooth sailing, there was no turbulence.” He said the plane landed without further incident.

While being struck by lightning would sound frightening to those on board, airplane lightning strikes are not that uncommon and the jets are built to withstand the jolt.
“Airplanes themselves are prepared for this kind of stuff and have the mechanics to manage lightning strikes,” Sea-Tac Airport public relations manager Perry Cooper told ABC News. “We did not receive any reports of precautionary landing alerts from any pilots Wednesday night either.”

As lightning hits the plane, the electricity flows on the outer surface of the plane and then continues on its way through the air, according to the Washington Post. They add the FAA estimates each plane gets hit by lightning about once a year in the United States.

But it was a rather amazing coincidence that two planes would be hit during that particular thunderstorm. Officials with the National Weather Service in Seattle said radar detected only 5 lightning strikes with the storm….(read more)



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