Lightning Strikes 2 Planes Flying Into Philly

By Karen Araiza
|  Thursday, Apr 23, 2009  |  Updated 11:27 AM PDT
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Lightning Strikes 2 Planes Flying Into Philly

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Both jets landed safely. On average, commercial airliners get struck by lightning at least once a year.

Lightning hit two jetliners flying into Philly Wednesday night during that burst of rain, wind and hail we had. Both planes were on approach to land at Philadelphia International Airport. Both made safe landings.

US Airways Flight 1036 was struck by lightning as it entered Philadelphia airspace. The Boeing 757 was carrying 96 passengers and a crew of seven from St. Martin in the Caribbean. The pilots landed the plane just fine. Maintenance workers were checking it over Wednesday night, which is standard operating procedure according to the airline.

Lightning also hit an AirTran jet on approach around the same time. That jet also made a safe landing.

While it sounds really scary, commercial airlines get hit by lightning more than once a year, according to an article in Scientific American. But there has not been a commercial crash blamed on lightning in more than 40 years. The skins of many commercial airplanes are made mostly out of aluminum which is a good conductors of electricity. And the planes are engineered in such a way that  when (apparently not if) the jet takes a lightning hit, most of the current stays on the outside of the plane.

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