Aircraft often trigger lightning when flying through a heavily charged region of acloud. In these instances, the lightning flash originates at the airplane andextends away in opposite directions. Most aircraft skins consist primarily ofaluminum, which conducts electricity very well.
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By making sure that no gaps existin this conductive path, the engineer can assure that most of the lightningcurrent will remain on the exterior of the aircraft. Some modern aircraft are madeof advanced composite materials, which by themselves are significantly lessconductive than aluminum. In this case, the composites contain an embeddedlayer of conductive fibers or screens designed to carry lightning currents. Theaircraft skin around the fuel tanks must be thick enough to withstand a burnthrough. Lightning strikes their plane, nothing serious should happen because ofthe careful lightning protection engineered into the aircraft and its sensitivecomponents.
Initially, the lightning will attach to an extremity such as the nose orwing tip. It is a widespread myth that the reason vehicles provide protectionfrom lightning is due to the tires. In actuality, lightning flows around theoutside of a car, and the majority of the current flows from the car’s metalcage into the ground below. In essence, a car acts like a mobile Faradaycage. The strike hit the truck’s antenna, shutting the engine down and triggering a firein the inside the pickup’s cab, according to the Rapid Valley Volunteer FireDepartment via the National Weather Service office in Rapid City.
Convertiblesdo not have metal roofs, which compromises the Faraday cage affect. Inaddition, some vehicles are manufactured out of non-metal parts, whichimpedes electricity’s ability to flow through the car. Another caveat with regardsto lightning safety within vehicles is the fact that some portions of the currentcan flow through the vehicle’s electrical systems and metal appendagesincluding radios, cell phone chargers, GPS units as well as car door handles, footpedals, the steering column and the steering wheel.