Julian Bray writes: it is not uncommon for aircraft to be struck by lightning, but planes these days, are seldom damaged in the process as the fuselage deliberately acts as a Faraday Cage ( as evidenced by electricity workers who wear chain mail type bodysuits, when working on live National Grid Electricity lines ) and the electrical charge bends around the plane then heads for its earthing point on the ground below.
The commander (Captain) would have followed the manufacturers and CAA policy of having the Boeing 737-800 fully checked over as a precautionary measure, at the nearest major airport after the incident. After a three hour delay at Gatwick, the plane being held on the runway apron, the flight resumed and later arrived, landing safely at Agadir, Morocco.
All the passengers and crew, of course, now have lifelong bragging rights that they were actually struck by lightning. The deliberately designed in 'Faraday Cage' effect of the planes' airframe, in reality means they were never in any real danger. But why spoil a good story?
The airline later released a statement: "Thomson Airways would like to apologise for any inconvenience to our customers on board flight TOM732 travelling from Manchester airport to Agadir in Morocco, which was diverted to London Gatwick airport as a precautionary measure due to adverse weather. The flight departed [3 hours later] from London Gatwick airport as quickly as possible afterwards and customers have arrived safely in Morocco. – Thomson Airways
In a brief message, The Civil Aviation Authority said aircraft are very rarely damaged by lightning strikes.Aircraft are built to withstand lightning strikes, so significant damage to the airframe is very rare. If an aircraft does suffer a lightning strike it will be thoroughly inspected by engineers once on the ground before being released back into service.– Civil Aviation Authority
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