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Section 3.6

Aviation Losses from Lightning Strikes

  1. 26.06.59 (ca. 17.35) Lockheed L-1649A Starliner
    N7313C (1015) Trans World Airlines - TWA
    Cccupants: 9 crew + 59 passengers = 68
    Fatalities: 9 crew + 59 passengers = 68.
    Accident Occured: During Climb
    Location: Milano; 20 mi NW (Italy)
    Flight: Milano-Malpensa APT - Paris-Orly Flightnr.: 891

    Source: ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (132-152)

  2. 12.08.63 (13.19 GMT) Vickers 708 Viscount
    F-BGNV (39) Air Inter [year built: 1954]
    Occupants: 4 crew + 16 passengers
    Fatalities: 4 crew + 16 passengers
    3rd party fatalities: 1
    Accident Occured: Initial Approach
    Location: Lyon; 24 km N (France)
    Flight: Lille - Lyon-Satolas APT Flightnr.: 2611

    Source: ICAO Accident Digest No.15 - Volume II, Circular 78- AN/66 (179-185)

  3. 08.12.63 Boeing 707-121
    N709PA (17588/3) Pan American World Airways [year built: 1958]
    Occupants: 8 crew + 73 passengers
    Fatalities: 8 crew + 73 passengers
    Accident Occured: Initial Approach
    Location: Elkton, MD (USA)
    Flight: Washington-Baltimore IAP, DC - Philadelphia IAP Flightnr.: 214
    Total airframe flying hours: 14609; cycles

    Comments: Inflight explosion of fuel tank due to lightning strike.

    Source: ICAO Accident Digest No.15 - Volume II, Circular 78- AN/66 (121-133)

  4. 24.12.71 (12.36) Lockheed L-188A Electra
    OB-R- 941 (1086) LANSA [year built: 1959]
    Occupants: 6 crew + 86 passengers
    Fatalities: 6 crew + 85 passengers
    Accident Occured: Cruise
    Location: Puerto Inca (Peru)
    Flight Lima-Jorge Chavez IAP - Flightnr.: 508

    Comments: About forty minutes after take-off, the aircraft entered a zone of strong turbulence and lightning. After flying for twenty minutes in this weather at FL210 lightning struck the aircraft, causing fire on the right wing which separated, along with part of the left wing. The aircraft crashed in flames into mountainous terrain. Structural failure occurred because of the loads imposed on the aircraft flying through a severe thunderstorm, but also because of stresses resulting from the manoeuvre to level out the aircraft.

  5. 09.05.76 (14.35 GMT) Boeing 747-131F
    5-8104 (19677/73) Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force [year built: 1970]
    Occupants: 10 crew + 7 passengers
    Fatalities: 10 crew + 7 passengers
    Freight loss
    Accident Occured
    : Descent
    Location: Madrid; nr (Spain)
    Flight Tehran-Mehrabad IAP - Madrid-Torrejon AFB Flightnr.: 48

    Comments: The Boeing was operated on a military logistic flight from Tehran to McGuire AFB via Madrid. The flight took off from Tehran at 08.20h GMT and climbed to a cruising altitude of FL330. After establishing contact with Madrid control, clearance was received to CPL VOR via Castejon. At 14.25h the flight was cleared to FL100. At 14.30 the crew advised Madrid that they were diverting to the elft because of thunderstorm activity, and at 14.32 Madrid cleared ULF48 to 5000ft and directed him to contact Madrid approach control. At 14.33 the crew contacted approach control and advised them that there was too much weather activity ahead and requested to be vectored around it. Last radio contact was when ULF48 acknowledged the 260deg heading instructions and informed Madrid that they were descending to 5000ft. The aircraft was later found to have crashed in farmland at 3000ft msl following left wing separation. It appeared that the aircraft had been struck by lightning, entering a forward part of the aircraft and exiting from a static discharger on the left wingtip. The lightning current's conductive path to the static discharger at the tip was through a bond strap along the trailing edge. Concentration of current at the riveted joint between this bond strap and a wing rib were sufficient conductive to cause the flash to reattach to this rivet and to leave the discharger. Fuel vapors in the no.1 fuel tank then ignited. The explosion caused the upper wing skin panel to separate, causing a drastic altering of the aeroelastic properties of the wing, and especially the outboard section of wing. The outer wing began to oscillate, developing loads which caused the high-frequency antenna and outer tip to separate. The whole wing failed a little later.

    Source: FI 15.5.76(1283); NTSB-AAR-78-12

  6. 05.09.80 Lockheed L-100-20 Hercules
    KAF317 (4350) Kuwait Air Force
    Occupants: crew + passengers
    Fatalities: crew + passengers
    Location: Montelimar; nr (France)

    Comments: Crashed after lightning strike.

    Source: FI 03.01.1981 (29)

  7. 08.02.88 (07.58) Swearingen SA.227AC Metro
    D-CABB (AC-500) N

  8. rnberger Flugdienst - NFD
    Occupants: 2 crew + 19 passengers
    Fatalities: 2 crew + 19 passengers
    Accident Occured: Initial Approach
    Location: Mulheim; nr (Germany)
    Flight Hannover-Langenhagen APT - D

  9. sseldorf Flightnr.: 108

    Comments: The Metro aircraft suffered a lightning strike, following which the electrical system failed. The right wing broke off in an uncontrolled descent and the aircraft disintegrated.

    Source: ICAO Adrep Summary 2/90 (#32)

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