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What do lightning and Airplanes have in common?

Penbuster
Category: Travel & Vacation
Source: Penbuster
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It was a puzzling thing 60 years ago when lots of lives would be lost when lightning would strike aircrafts.

Luckily for us humans modern aircrafts are fitted with powerful Radars and Pilots are careful enough to avoid areas with heavy rainfall, mostly the cloudy type called Cumulonimbus. Pilots steer clear from such areas so as to avoid severe turbulence and heavy icing. When super cooled water droplets of minus 30 degrees present at 35,000 feet comes into contact with the aircraft it solidifies immediately as solid ice and freezes the control surfaces, apart from depositing several tons of ice accumulation over the wings making the plane un-flyable.

The plane then gradually comes down akin to a situation where the planes are made to carry loads. Lightning does not do anything to the aircraft; all the electrical energy that hits the aircraft (as the result of direct heavy lightning), is stored in the skin of the airplane and that electrical energy gets transferred to the next cloud; the residual electrical energy left on the skin of the aircraft is dissipated to the ground when the carbonized tires touches down.

It is theoretically possible for instant death vial electrical shock, if the aircraft windows were openable and a passenger makes the mistake of sticking his hand outside and touches the outer skin of the aircraft when it has not dissipated the electricity; the same possibility arises if someone would stand exactly in the same spot where the plane touches down on a wet runway, he would get electrocuted instantly. The good news is that the plane normally touches down almost a mile or two away from the nearest Airport perimeter where it is not likely someone would be that close to the touch-down spot.

Engineers have figured out a way of diverting the excess electrical charges resulting from lighting in the manner that it is smoothly transferred to the next cloud. A modern airline aircraft is the best masterpiece that man has ever made.  Probably the next best man creation would be by the Apollo spacecraft or the Russian space rockets. Us human, our imagination, our survival depends on it.


This article was published on:
Monday, May 13, 2019


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