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Ten Finnair Aircraft Struck In One Evening

A news report from Finland where at ten aircraft were struck in mid-air between 7:30pm and 5:30am local time. This is a very unusual occurrence as aircraft dispatchers and flight crew tend to ground aircraft when there are storms near the airport. Fortunately, all the aircraft landed safely and were undergoing routine inspections. See the full news report here: Finland Lightning Strike...

NASA Scientists to Launch Lightning Sensor

Goddard Space Flight Center, the Universities Space Research Association, and Siena College researchers are building a space sensor to detect gamma rays and the light generated during lightning strikes. Gamma ray flashes associated with lightning events are significant because they are usually only detected around large energy events like black holes, solar flares, or nuclear explosions. See the full article here: NASA Research...

Cardiff University Opens Lightning Lab

Cardiff University in Wales, UK has opened a lightning high current test facility to evaluate the effects of lightning on aircraft. This facility was built with funding from EADS, the parent company of Airbus. Read the BBC news article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-15295608 Video News Story of Cardiff Lightning...

Lightning Hits Telephone Wires, Fires Shotgun

A fun article from Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana detailing a 1900 lightning strike which hit a telephone line outside of a general store. The lightning traveled down the line and through a loaded shotgun in the store. The shotgun fires which startles a man using a circular saw, who then cuts off several fingers. This sounds like an episode for Mythbusters....

Austrian A320 Struck on Approach

An Airbus A320 was struck on approach to Innsbruck, Austria. The pilots aborted the approach and headed back to their departure airport in Vienna so the aircraft could be inspected and repaired. See the news report here:...

South Dakota College Awarded $500,000 NSF Grant to Study Lightning

The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded a $586,486 research grant to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to study lightning triggered by tall towers. The following excerpt comes from the research.gov webpage: This research will address how lightning is triggered and propagates upward from tall structures such as buildings and towers. Existing literature and previous observations suggest that nearby flashes can create conditions favorable for upward leader initiation from tall objects. The objective of these investigators is to quantify and understand these conditions and determine a triggering flash component responsible for upward leader initiation. A combination of electromagnetic and optical sensors will record upward lightning flashes from multiple transmission towers near Rapid City, South Dakota. Electromagnetic sensors will include electric field meters, fast and slow field change sensors, and two interferometers. Operation of these sensors will be coordinated with high-speed video, standard-definition video, and digital still image cameras. Observations made with these assets will be analyzed along with National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) and meteorological data (i.e., radar, satellite, thermodynamic sounding and meteorological surface parameters) to determine types of flashes and their properties that affect or are critical for the initiation of upward leaders from tall objects, storm type, region and stage of development during which upward lightning occurs, and the conditions for triggering upward leaders on multiple tall objects during the same flash. The intellectual merit of this research is centered upon a more complete physics-based understanding of mechanisms involved in triggering and propagation of lightning channels that are unique to strikes on tall structures. Broader impacts of this effort will include collaborative interactions with lightning...

Aircraft Depart on Closed Runway in Pittsburgh

A recent lightning strike at Pittsburgh International Airport knocked out lighting on Runway 28 Right. The lightning strike also damaged a visual aid used by the FAA controllers. This led to a hazardous situation where aircraft were departing on a runway where repair crews could have been working. Fortunately, no one was hurt but the FAA is investigating the error. The news article is here:...