Image and video loop show a large aircraft apparently being struck by lightning shortly after takeoff.
This amazing image of an aircraft being struck by lightning circulates via email and has also been posted on various websites, blogs and forums. A video loop that also comes with the message shows what happened before, during and after the strike.
The video is genuine and was indeed taken over an airport in Japan some years ago. The still image and video were discussed in a University of Florida scientific publication titled “The interaction of lightning with airborne vehicles”. According to the report, the image and video loop show “a commercial aircraft initiating lightning at low altitude after take off from an airport in Japan during winter”. The report notes that the lightning was probably initiated by the aircraft itself. This conclusion is validated by the video loop of the incident, which shows lightning branching downward and upwards from the aircraft. In fact, notes the article, “about 90 percent of the lightning discharges to aircraft are thought to be initiated by the aircraft themselves. The initiation apparently involves a bidirectional leader whose positive and negative parts develop from opposite sides of the aircraft.”
Although the lightning strike certainly looks spectacular, there are no reports that indicate that the aircraft sustained any serious damage in the incident. In fact, while aircraft lightning strikes are not uncommon, serious damage or crashes caused by lightning are quite rare. According to a Scientific American article about lightning strikes and aircraft, its is “estimated that on average, each airplane in the U.S. commercial fleet is struck lightly by lightning more than once each year”. However, the article notes that the last crash directly attributed to a lightning strike occurred back in 1967 when the fuel tank exploded.
Understanding of the potential effects of lightning strikes have increased substantially since then and modern commercial aircraft go through stringent lightning certification tests. After a strike, electricity from the lightning will normally travel through the conductive metal skin of the aircraft and then exit, in most cases, causing little or no damage. Short-term problems with aircraft instruments and lighting are sometimes reported.
First published: 15th November 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!