If you are afraid of lightning, when you travel by plane you are in the right place. We explain why you don’t have to fear this natural event when you are at high altitude.
Understanding that lightning is harmless to aircraft is the first step in reassuring air travellers. To ensure everyone’s safety during the flight, the aircraft is equipped with safety devices that dissipate lightning energy quickly and efficiently. The exterior parts of aircraft are designed with insulating materials that limit the possibility of lightning entering the cabin and endangering passengers.
Furthermore, the aircraft structures are built with non-conductive material, in order to prevent any damage caused by electric discharges from the ground or other atmospheric elements. So while it may seem scary to see lightning strike a plane as it is flying through the sky, these particular technical measures make it very unlikely that anything serious will happen.
Modern aviation is equipped with cutting-edge technologies that allow aircraft to be resistant to lightning strikes. In fact, aircraft are built with metal alloys , insulators and composite materials which guarantee a high degree of protection against electric charges. The probability of an aircraft being struck by lightning is extremely small.
According to the National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI) , there are fewer than 100 accidents recorded worldwide each year, with only a handful directly involving airplanes. Most accidents involve the aircraft’s electrical systems, such as antennas and motors, rather than the people inside. In fact, modern technology and engineering have made it even more unlikely that a lightning strike will affect aircraft. In addition, state-of-the-art electronic equipment and standardized protocols offer further protection for pilots and passengers. For this reason there is no need to worry: even if the clouds are approaching menacingly, you can travel in peace!