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Air France Flight Crashes-- Unfortunate incident

Travel Forums Off Topic Air France Flight Crashes-- Unfortunate incident

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21. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

Quoting Redpaddy

I was always of the belief (well, for many years - anyway), that aircraft couldn't be brought down by lightning. Have any others heard the same?? Cos I'm sure I'm not isolated on this one.

Lightning strikes, and their effects have been a concern for aviation for decades. As such, all modern commerical and military aircraft have been designed and tested to safely transfer the electrical energy contained within a lightning strike around the passengers, fuel, and other vital components to ground. All equipment that is installed after the aircraft leaves the factory follow the same criteria. However, do things occur during service that degrade the level of protection, yes. Are all the physics involved in lightning completely understood, no. It's good, and airplanes are regularly (daily?) struck by lightning, but not a guarantee.

22. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 7y

Quoting Q'

Quoting Redpaddy

I was always of the belief (well, for many years - anyway), that aircraft couldn't be brought down by lightning. Have any others heard the same?? Cos I'm sure I'm not isolated on this one.

Lightning strikes, and their effects have been a concern for aviation for decades. As such, all modern commerical and military aircraft have been designed and tested to safely transfer the electrical energy contained within a lightning strike around the passengers, fuel, and other vital components to ground. All equipment that is installed after the aircraft leaves the factory follow the same criteria. However, do things occur during service that degrade the level of protection, yes. Are all the physics involved in lightning completely understood, no. It's good, and airplanes are regularly (daily?) struck by lightning, but not a guarantee.

It is that I love travelling, otherwise I would never step into a plane

23. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

A bit of research, one guy pegged the global number of lightning strikes on aircraft, at around 35 every day.

24. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

There are a 100 lightning strikes per second worldwide. Over 25 million strikes in the US every year. That is a whole bunch of lightning! Modern aviation industry could not function if it did not have a safe way for planes
to survive lightning strikes.

"Q" is right. Almost all air accidents are the result of a series of events that all have to happen for an airliner to crash. It will take at least a year for the report on flight 447 to be published. They do not rush to any conclusions. However, my original question remains. Why did the pilots of AF flight 447 fly into such a powerful thunderstorm? Other pilots chose to avoid this storm. It was not a secret, weather forecasts knew about the storm and its location. I am the one that will stay off AF. There are plenty of airlines to choose from, AF is not on my list. I prefer Singapore Air when I fly to SEA, EVA Air when my wallet is thin. Everybody votes with their wallet, one of the reasons the Concorde is not longer flying, or Braniff, or Pan Am, or Frontier, or PSA. That is the way the market works. Sell enough tickets, you survive, don't fill enough seats and you disappear.

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jun-2009, at 17:42 by vegasmike6 ]

25. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 7y

I read somewhere (and I can't remember where to link to!) that there is a difference in lightening strikes. The majority of lightening strikes on airplanes are harmless BUT in the ICTZ where this accident happened the clouds and storms can be up to 44,000ft and within those storms there are lightening bolts. If a lightening bolt strikes a plane and it's then hit by an updraft (which can pull the plane up by 200km very fast) then there will be a catastrophic failure of equipment. A meterologist (spelling?) said that these storms are like a big room with columns of worse storms within them, if the plane hits a storm column instead of flying around them then the plane can be caught in an up/down draft and basically plummet to the ground (or water in this case).

From this report I read it seems that this is the 'favourite' theory at the moment due to the pitot speed indicators not working properly and the plane hitting the storms at a higher speed than it should have.

However, what I am most worried about is that this is the third incident in 6 months or so with an Airbus A330 - the first was an Australian JetStar A330 which had to make an emergency landing in Manila due to a sudden loss of pressure, there was this Air France flight which is surrounded by mystery and then a couple of days ago there was an emergency landing in Guam of another Australian flight from Japan due to technical problems. Is this a worrying trend for this model of aircraft or just co-incidence?

It doesn't stop me from flying - I've just done some flights this week, I still think it's a safe form of travel it just seems more unsafe because when a flight crashes it's so many more people that die, if that makes sense. I feel for the family and friends of the people on the Air France flight who will have to wait so long to see what happened to their loved ones. With some luck the flight recorders will be found so a proper answer can be given.

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