Today’s aircraft cruise through the skies at heights of up to 40,000 feet.
Up there, the atmosphere is thinner and offers less resistance, meaning the aircraft can fly more efficiently. It also helps avoid bad weather, which tends to hover at lower levels.
That bad weather includes the usual nasties of thunder and lightning.
So while cruising at higher altitudes makes the chances of aircraft being struck by lightning low, we know there’s a high level of curiosity about what actually happens.
We asked Qantas Chief Technical Pilot Alex Passerini how he manages stormy weather and Qantas Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Grant Michelmore tells us how aircraft are designed to deal with lightning strikes.
Some lightning quick facts