What happens when an aeroplane is hit by lightning ?

When an an aeroplane is hit by lightning, the current will travel through the conductive exterior skin and structures of the aircraft and exit off at the tail.

Pilots occasionally report flickering of lights or short-lived interference with instruments.

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Most aircraft skins are made from aluminum, which conducts electricity very well.

By making sure that no gaps exist in skin of the aeroplane most of the lightning current will remain on the exterior of the aircraft.

A main concern is the fuel system, where even a tiny spark could be disastrous.

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Engineers take extreme precautions to ensure that lightning currents cannot cause sparks in any portion of an aircraft’s fuel system.

The aircraft skin around the fuel tanks must be thick enough to withstand a lightning strike burning through the skin.

Travelling by air is very safe and aircraft are designed to with stand severe strikes due to the above designs and precautions.

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