What happens if an aircraft flying in stormy weather is struck by lighting?

In most cases, nothing – except a slight flickering of cabin lights and a few milliseconds of interference that the cockpit instruments experience.

Modern passenger aircraft’s skin is made primarily of aluminum which is a good conductor of electricity. Inside, there is adequate insulation, so most of the current flows through only the exterior framework of the aircraft. In the case of some modern small aircraft which have an outer skin made of non-conductive or less conductive composite materials there is an embedded layer of wires or mesh which allow the lightning current to pass through. Since the fuel tanks are properly sealed with a thick layer of insulation the lightning bolt having entered one extreme like nose or wing exits from another extreme such as the tip of the aircraft’s rudder.

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